The parents of a Hebei man who was executed 21 years ago only to be found not guilty of rape and murder earlier this month have submitted a request for nearly 14 million yuan in government compensation for their son’s wrongful conviction and execution.
The family of Nie Shubin submitted the request to the Higher People’s Court in Hebei province earlier this afternoon. They are seeking a death indemnity, funeral expense compensation, personal freedom compensation, and emotional distress compensation. In total, the requested amount adds up to 13,910,000 yuan ($ 2 million).
Additionally, they are asking for a written apology from all the relevant departments that handled Nie’s case, so that their son’s good name can finally be cleared once and for all.
For Nie’s family, the road to vindication has been a long one. On December 2nd, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) admitted that flaws in the Chinese justice system had led to the wrongful conviction of Nie, who was found guilty in 1995 of raping and murdering a Shijiazhuang woman.
The SPC overturned the conviction after finding that several legal violations had been committed during Nie’s trial. They included insufficient evidence, lost documents, and a confession found to be inadmissible because it was gained through torture, along with the fact that key details like time and cause of death had not been confirmed by the prosecution.
Back in 2005, it became apparent that there was something not right about Nie’s case after a man named Wang Shujin admitted to committing the crimes for which Nie was found guilty. Unfortunately, a special investigation into Nie’s case by Liu Jinguo, who had served as head of the party’s provincial Political and Legal Affairs Committee at the time, stalled when Liu was promoted to another department.
It took almost ten years of constant petitioning before Nie’s parents were given another opportunity to vindicate their son. But even after the SPC assigned the case to a Shandong court for review in 2014, it wasn’t until this past June that the SPC finally decided to reopen Nie’s case.
The extremely long time it took for China’s courts to find Nie innocent pales in comparison to the time it took them to punish him. Just a month after his conviction, 21-year-old Nie was executed.
Nie’s story is strikingly similar to that of an Inner Mongolian man named Hugjiltu. Two years ago, Hugijiltu was found innocent of rape and murder charges that he was convicted of 18 years before. Unfortunately, just like Nie, Hugjiltu had been swiftly punished for his crime, being executed just two months after his trial. He was 18 years old at the time.
In perhaps an inauspicious sign for Nie’s family, one month after Hugjiltu’s conviction was overturned, his parents were awarded with state compensation — amounting to just 2.06 million yuan.
So it’s far from certain that Nie’s parents will be awarded the full 14 million yuan in compensation. But, Chinese netizens are certainly on their side:
“Two elderly people suffer through 21 years of humiliation and torment; compensation, an apology, restoring their son’s good name, it’s all not enough.”
“The ones in charge of this case should all be buried together in a grave beside Nie, even that would not be excessive. They deliberately murdered a person.”
“Nie’s father tried to kill himself and became disabled. Nie’s mother spent 10 years petitioning the government. Besides all that, an innocent man was put to death, 13 million is not enough.”
“21 years. Even 10 billion wouldn’t be too much.”
“The compensaiton is not enough. But the officers, prosection and judge in the case who broke the law should be made to personally pay the bill.”
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