A Jiangxi man is freed after 27 years in prison. The court apologises for the mistake
by Wang Zhicheng

Zhang Yuhuan, a 52-year-old carpenter, was found guilty of murder after he confessed under torture. After more than 600 petitions from prison, a court acknowledged that there was insufficient evidence to convict him.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Zhang Yuhuan, 52, has been a free man since yesterday. In 1993 a court convicted him of murdering two children. He spent 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Yesterday, a Jiangxi court apologised for the mistake.

Zhang, who was a carpenter in Jinxiang (Nanchang County, Jiangxi), was charged with killing two children found dead in a reservoir near his home. He was immediately suspected, tried, and sentenced to death in 1995 for their murder after he "confessed".

However, he always maintained his innocence, claiming that he had confessed to the "crime" under torture. After years of appeals, writing at least 600 petitions from prison, the Jiangxi High Court reopened the case last year.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Zhang's "confession” was extorted by force, and that there was insufficient evidence to convict him.

Now Zhang plans to apply for compensation for what he had to endure, but he told Caixin, after so many years in prison, he feels "like a fool ... completely out of touch with society."

In reporting the news, a national TV broadcaster quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping, who once said: “Correcting mistakes is never too late.”