August 1, 2007
Canada and the US certainly have no monopoly on wrongful convictions.
In China in 1994 She (pronounced “Shuh”) Xianglin was convicted of killing his wife. He even confessed to the crime. But his conviction was overturned after he spent 11 years in prison, when his wife returned. It seems she had simply run off with another man.
Xianglin says he signed the confession without reading it after he was tortured by police. Human rights groups have said that torture is common in this system that relies heavily on confessions to crack difficult cases. According to some reports, prisoners are sometimes tortured to death, their relatives being told that they died of natural causes or committed suicide. Curiously, one of the officers who allegedly took part in Xianglin’s abuse hanged himself when authorities began an investigation into the incident.
Xianglin has received compensation for his time in prison, $7.90 US a day for each of the 4,009 days he spent confined, plus $24,600 for lost earnings. He has not received any compensation for the beatings he says he suffered, nor have any of the police involved in the case apologized.
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