Tortured man confessed to murdering wife who 11 years later turns up alive

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A man in jail for murdering his wife was freed after she turns up 11 years later alive.

She Xianglin was arrested in 1994 three months after his wife Zhang Zaiyu disappeared in Jingshan County (Hubei province).

He confessed to her murder after being tortured by various interrogators and sentenced to death, a decision upheld by an appeal court. A higher court eventually found evidence which cast doubt on the case and ordered a retrial, which led to the reduction of the sentence to 15 years in jail.

When Mr She's wife showed up last March, the Superior Court in western Sichuan province freed him.

On the same day, the court became the first in China to say it would not recognise evidence obtained by torture or threats of violence.

Now Mr She is asking for 4.3 million yuan (US$ 528,000) in compensation for "mental injuries, violations of his rights and damages to his health".

According to the State Compensation Law, the indemnity to citizens whose freedom has been violated is calculated according to the average salary. This puts the amount owed to She at 256,000 yuan (US$ 31,000) for his 11 years in jail.

Mr She's lawyer expressed the hope that his client's appeal would lead to the revision of the law and requested compensation for mental injuries.

Two witnesses who had testified that Mr She's wife was alive are also asking for compensation.