Return of Innocence! Interview with Zhang Yuhuan: "26 years cannot be solved with a single apology"

  In the past two days, Zhang Yuhuan’s homicide case was retrial after 26 years and the sentence was not guilty, which caused widespread concern and heated discussions among netizens. Many related topics rushed to hot searches↓↓↓

  Yesterday (4th), the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court issued a public sentence on the retrial of the original trial defendant Zhang Yuhuan's intentional homicide, revoked the original trial judgment and declared Zhang Yuhuan not guilty .

  Currently, Zhang Yuhuan has returned home. This afternoon, he accepted a telephone interview with Zhuang Shengchun, a reporter from CCTV's "Relativity".

The fifth sentence: Not guilty!

  On October 24, 1993, two boys in Zhangjia Village, Huangling Township, Jinxian County, Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province were killed and thrown their bodies into the reservoir. Zhang Yuhuan from the same village was taken away as a suspect by the police. A few days later, on November 3 and 4, Zhang Yuhuan made two transcripts of confessing to the murder, but when the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court opened the case for the first time in January of the following year, Zhang Yuhuan retracted the confession in court, saying that he had been tortured to extract the confession. , Can only bend into a move.

  In January 1995, the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court finally convicted Zhang Yuhuan of intentional homicide. The basic facts are clear, the basic evidence is sufficient, and the crime is serious. According to the specific circumstances of the case, Zhang Yuhuan was sentenced to death, suspended for two years.

  Zhang Yuhuan refused to accept and appealed. In March 1995, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court ruled to revoke the original sentence and remand it for retrial on the grounds of unclear facts and insufficient evidence .

  In November 2001, the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court re-trial judgement once again found that the basic facts of the case were clear and the basic evidence was sufficient, and made the same judgment as the first instance. Facing the third trial, Zhang Yuhuan still appealed.

  That month, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court made a final ruling: dismissed the appeal, upheld the original sentence, and sentenced Zhang Yuhuan to death with a two-year suspension of execution. Zhang Yuhuan did not give up. For many years, he has insisted on writing complaints to the judicial departments at all levels, and his family has always supported him.

  In August 2017, Zhang Yuhuan submitted a criminal complaint to the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court, requesting the court to file a case for retrial, and acquit him in accordance with the law. In June 2018, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court decided to file the case for review. On the afternoon of August 4, 2020, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court issued a public sentence on the retrial of the original trial defendant Zhang Yuhuan's intentional homicide case, revoked the original judgment and declared Zhang Yuhuan not guilty.

△Monitoring video at the trial site, with Zhang Yuhuan in the middle of the upper left picture (photo courtesy of Jiangxi High Court)

Amendment based on the principle of "no one suspected of guilt"

  According to Zhang Yuhuan's retrial defense attorney Wang Fei, the sentencing time on the day was very short, only about 10 minutes. The judge of the court read out the facts ascertained and then expounded the court's views on the case. "The core point of view is that the material evidence in this case cannot prove that it is related to this case. The authenticity of the guilty statement outside the material evidence is doubtful. The evidence in the entire case cannot form a complete chain of evidence. Zhang Yuhuan was judged based on the principle of'no guilty '. Not guilty ."

  A written material provided by the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court stated that the case did not fall under the circumstances such as "the true culprit appeared," but was a revised sentence based on the principle of "no suspected crime" . With an attitude of being responsible to the law, to the people, and to history, the Jiangxi Provincial High Court found and corrected one wrong case. Zhang Yuhuan was not guilty in the retrial, which reflects the implementation of the principle of "no guilty" in judicial practice.

△ Trial scene (Photo courtesy of Jiangxi High Court)

  After the verdict of Zhang Yuhuan's intentional homicide retrial case, the presiding judge Tian Ganlin accepted an interview with reporters and answered reporters' questions on related issues.

  1. What are the main reasons and basis for Zhang Yuhuan's innocence in the retrial of this case?

  The court found that the facts and insufficient evidence that Zhang Yuhuan committed the crime in the original trial were unclear and the evidence was mainly manifested as: the sacks and hemp rope used as tools for the crime were found to be unrelated to the case or Zhang Yuhuan; the original trial determined that the victim scratched the back of Zhang Yuhuan’s hand The body injury inspection certificate on which it is based can only prove that scratches can be formed by hand scratching, and are not exclusive; the first crime scene identified by the original trial, the public security organs did not find or extract any evidence related to the case during the on-site investigation; Zhang Yuhuan The two guilty confessions made by him have obvious contradictions in the location of the murder, the tools of the crime, and the process of the crime. The truthfulness of the confession is doubtful and cannot be used as a basis for conviction in accordance with the law. Except for Zhang Yuhuan’s guilty confession, there is no direct evidence to prove that Zhang Yuhuan committed a criminal act, and indirect evidence cannot form a complete chain. The evidence on the basis of the original trial did not meet the credible and sufficient statutory standard of proof. The fact that Zhang Yuhuan was found guilty of intentional homicide was unclear and the evidence was insufficient. According to the principle of never suspected crime, Zhang Yuhuan could not be found guilty. This court accepted the opinion that Zhang Yuhuan and his defender, and the People's Procuratorate of Jiangxi Province should amend Zhang Yuhuan's innocence. In accordance with relevant laws and regulations, the original judgment was revoked and Zhang Yuhuan was declared innocent.

  2. What is the significance of retrial and retrial of Zhang Yuhuan's case according to law?

  This case does not belong to the situation of "the real culprit appears" and "the dead returns", but a revised sentence based on the principle of "no doubt". Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Jiangxi Court has resolutely implemented the Party Central Committee and the Supreme Court’s decision and deployment of comprehensively advancing the rule of law, resolutely correcting wrongful cases, strictly implementing the principle of never suspected crimes, and insisting on seeking truth from facts and correcting mistakes. Responsible to the law, responsible to the people, and responsible to history. One case was discovered and corrected. From "doubtful crime from existence" to "doubtful crime from nothing" is an inevitable choice for the protection of human rights and an advancement in justice. The retrial of Zhang Yuhuan’s innocence fully reflects the implementation of the principle of “no doubt” in judicial practice.

  3. After Zhang Yuhuan is found not guilty in the retrial of this case, how will he deal with issues such as state compensation?

  According to the "National Compensation Law of the People's Republic of China", the acquittal is retrialed in accordance with the trial supervision procedures, and if the original sentence has been executed, the victim has the right to obtain state compensation. After acquitting Zhang Yuhuan, this court has informed him of the right to apply for state compensation. If Zhang Yuhuan submits an application for national compensation, this court will hear it in accordance with the law and make a decision as soon as possible.

  4. Has the "exclusion" procedure been initiated during this trial? why?

  During the retrial, Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyer filed an application to exclude illegal evidence on the grounds that Zhang Yuhuan was tortured by the public security organ to extract a confession. In the pre-trial meeting, Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyers both expressed obedience to the decision of the collegial panel on whether to initiate the exclusion procedure. When applying to exclude illegal evidence, relevant clues or materials shall be provided in accordance with the law. After deliberation, the collegiate panel concluded that the clues and materials provided by Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyer were not sufficient, and decided not to initiate the non-exclusion procedure and formed a pre-trial meeting report. During the retrial, the collegiate panel read the report of the pre-trial meeting and informed the decision not to initiate the non-exclusion procedure and the reasons. However, regarding the legality of Zhang Yuhuan's guilty confession, the collegial panel has fully listened to Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyer's opinions on many occasions.

Zhang Yuhuan: "When I opened my eyes, I felt like I was in my own home" and asked the person who "tortured a confession" to be investigated

  Yesterday afternoon, Zhang Yuhuan returned home. Speaking of how he felt when he returned home, he told the reporter of "Relativity": "When I opened my eyes, I felt that I was at home ." When Zhang Yuhuan got up early this morning, Zhang Yuhuan went to his father's grave first, "Tell my father, I'm back innocently." ."

  He has not been home for nearly 27 years, and his elderly mother has not recognized him. Zhang Yuhuan and his family cried with each other, and then chatted with his son for a long time. "When I left home, the eldest son was 4 years old and the younger son was 3 years old. They have suffered a lot over the years. I felt so sad when I heard this."

  I have been out of touch with society for too long. When I left, I still rode a bicycle at home and didn't even have a mobile phone. Now, Zhang Yuhuan is trying to adapt to life, and his family is also teaching him how to use a mobile phone. "Get used to it slowly and teach me something simple."

  At present, Jiangxi Higher Institute and other units apologized to Zhang Yuhuan. He expressed his acceptance of the apology, but the pain and suffering of these 26 years cannot be solved by a single apology. "My wife is scattered and has nothing. I ask the judiciary to pursue the criminal responsibility of the people who'extorted confessions by torture'." Zhang Yuhuan and his family: hope to apply for state compensation to make up for their regrets.

  Talking about the past 27 years, Zhang Yuhuan told the "Relativity" reporter that what he regrets most is not fulfilling the responsibilities of her husband, father, and son. "I can't honor my mother, I can't raise children, and I haven't seen the growth of my son. I'm very sorry."

  He said that he now hopes to make up for his previous regrets by applying for national compensation, but this idea has not yet been launched. "Neither my two sons nor I have a house to live in. I still have to honor my old lady at home. I haven't fulfilled my responsibilities of being a son or a father for so many years."

  The father was released, and Zhang Yuhuan's son Zhang Baoren had mixed feelings. "The mood is very complicated. I waited too long on this day. In the eyes of others, this is a good thing and a happy event. In my eyes, it is really a happy event, but it is a sad thing. like."

Thanks to netizens: "Justice will be late, but will not be absent"

  Speaking of his wishes for the future, Zhang Yuhuan told the reporter of The Theory of Relativity: "I hope the whole family will be safe and sound, and the two sons can cross over as much as possible." At the same time, he also hopes that the government can consider giving himself some fields to farm.

  The case affects the hearts of netizens across the country. Zhang Yuhuan responded: "Thank you all for helping and caring about me. Thanks to the country’s policy for improving and returning me to my innocence. "Justice will be late, but will not be absent." The words are confirmed to me."

  CCTV reporter, Zhuang Shengchun

  Headquarters Yangguang reporter 丨 Li Jingcheng and Xie Yuansen