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Four acquitted after death sentences 13 years ago in China

[CLI Code] CLI.N.16760492(EN) 

Four people were finally acquitted of murder, rape and robbery on Thursday, 13 years after being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death.

Huang Zhiqiang, Fang Chunping, Cheng Fagen and Cheng Lihe were sentenced to death by the Intermediate People's Court of Jingdezhen city in July 2003 for murder, rape and robbery on May 23, 2000 in Leping City, in central China's Jiangxi Province.

Following a retrial on Nov. 30, Jiangxi Higher People's Court ruled Thursday that the facts were unclear, the evidence insufficient, and the authenticity and legitimacy of their confessions in doubt.

The appeal process has been continuing since 2003. A retrial at the same court upheld the death sentences in November 2004, and the provincial higher court sentenced them to death with a two-year reprieve in May 2006.

After Thursday's verdict, Xia Keqin, vice president of Jiangxi higher court, made an apology to the four and informed them of their right to state compensation.

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