Parents of teenager 'tortured' and wrongfully executed for rape and murder watch in court as another man is convicted of the crime

They have been awarded just over £200,000 in compensation

Adam Withnall
Monday 09 February 2015 14:46 GMT
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Shang Aiyun, mother of Huugjilt who was wrongly sentenced and executed for a murder case, pictured after attending the trial of Zhao Zhihong in China's Inner Mongolia
Shang Aiyun, mother of Huugjilt who was wrongly sentenced and executed for a murder case, pictured after attending the trial of Zhao Zhihong in China's Inner Mongolia (Corbis)

The parents of a teenager who was wrongly executed for murder and rape watched on in court today as another man was finally convicted of the crimes for which their son was killed.

Huugjilt, an 18-year-old man who like many Chinese Mongols went by a single name, was blamed for the 1996 death of a woman who was raped and killed in a public toilet after he discovered the body and reported it to the police.

He was executed just 61 days later – and only exonerated last December when China’s state media announced that the officer in charge of the case was to be charged with torture to coerce confession, dereliction of duty and taking bribes.

Huugjilt’s parents attended court in the Inner Mongolia region on Monday to hear Zhao Zhihong convicted and sentenced for a series of rapes and murders that included the 1996 charge.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, Zhao was found guilty of the murder of 10 people and the rape of 13 women and girls between April 1996 and July 2005, as well as separate crimes of robbery and theft.

Zhao was detained and confessed to the crimes in 2005 – yet it still took the authorities nine years to officially clear Huugjilt’s name. Zhao, 42, has himself now been sentenced to death.

Estimates suggest China leads the world in terms of the number of executions it carries out
Estimates suggest China leads the world in terms of the number of executions it carries out

State media reported that Huugjilt’s parents have been awarded compensation of 2.06 million yuan (£220,000) for their son's death, funeral expenses, mental damages and restrictions on his freedom before his conviction.

China does not disclose the number of executions it carries out every year, describing that information as a state secret. Despite regular expressions of outrage over wrongful deaths, capital punishment itself is reported to receive widespread public support.

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