Parents of teen wrongfully executed for murder in China to get $437,000

BEIJING (REUTERS) - The parents of a Chinese teenager executed 18 years ago for the rape and murder of a woman he did not commit will get 2.05 million yuan (S$437,491) in compensation, a court and his father said on Wednesday.

This month, a court exonerated Huugjilt, saying he was wrongly convicted in 1996 of raping and killing a woman in a public restroom. He was executed in the same year. He was 18.

Huugjilt's father, Mr Li Sanren, said the compensation was "all right", adding that he and his wife "respect the decision of the law and the state". "Our main consideration was his vindication," Mr Li told Reuters by telephone. "As for how much we should be compensated, that's a decision by the state."

Mr Li said he would use the money to find a good cemetery plot for his son. The Inner Mongolia High Court said it was compensating Huugjilt's parents for the "extremely serious mental damage" that has been inflicted on them.

Huugjilt is the latest wrongfully convicted death-row inmate exonerated in the past year. In August, Mr Nian Bin, a former death row prisoner, was freed after a court said there was insufficient evidence against him.

These cases, which have sparked an outcry, have added to public discontent over wrongful punishment. They come as the government has embarked on legal reforms, including banning the use of torture to extract confessions.

Many Internet users said they did not think the compensation was adequate and called for the officials responsible to be punished. The decision to compensate Huugjilt's family was the most talked-about topic on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

This month, the authorities said they were investigating a senior policeman for his role in Huugjilt's case.

Huugjilt's parents had been petitioning the judicial authorities since 2006 to retry the case. Another man had confessed to the murder in Inner Mongolia in 2005, but a retrial was not conducted until this year.

The recent exonerations have raised concern about irreversible miscarriages of justice.

Anti-death penalty campaigners say China, which does not announce the number of people executed, uses the death penalty in far more than other countries.

While wrongful executions have stirred public outrage, capital punishment has wide public support.

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