Court takes case of improper detention

Updated: 2016-02-26 08:10

By CAO YIN(China Daily)

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Court takes case of improper detention

Song Zhengguang, who was sentenced to life in prison for an alleged sexual assault. [Photo/China Daily].

Man in Henan was jailed in connection with 2007 case that prosecutors withdrew

A court in Henan province confirmed on Thursday that it has accepted the case of a man asking for 21 million yuan ($3.2 million) in state compensation for time spent in improper detention.

Xu Lin, spokesman for the Zhoukou Intermediate People's Court, said the case is still being processed and how much money the man can be given is uncertain.

Xu did not provide additional details about the case, which involves the largest compensation request in such litigation over the past five years. The case was submitted by Song Zhengguang and his lawyer, Lin Wencai, on Jan 26, three years after Song walked out of detention.

Lin said on Thursday that the large compensation request, mostly for mental suffering, was based on the harm caused to Song and his family.

Song was sentenced in 2007, when he was 16, to life in prison for allegedly sexually assaulting and killing a 9-year-old girl, who was said to be his cousin.

Henan High People's Court sent the case back to the lower court for a retrial for unclear facts and insufficient evidence after Song appealed, but a retrial was not carried out.

In April 2013, prosecutors withdrew the accusation, and Song was released on bail eight months later.

"At the end of 2014, Song's bail expired. So far there has been no explanation for the time my client spent in detention," Lin said, adding that a new judicial interpretation issued by the Supreme People's Court that took effect on Jan 1 provided some grounds for hope.

Under the interpretation, if police do not hand a case to prosecutors within one year after the expiration of bail, or if prosecutors do not move forward with a case, litigants may be eligible for compensation for past time spent in custody, such as in a detention house.

"I decided to apply for the compensation for my poor client, as well as his parents," Lin said.

While Song was in detention from 2007 to 2013, his parents repeatedly petitioned the local government and judicial bodies because they thought the judgment was wrong.

Song, now 25, is working at a factory in Guangdong province. "I don't know whether I will be named as a suspect in the case, because the court did not announce my innocence," he said.