China's Supreme Court today overturned the conviction of a man for rape and murder, 21 years after he was executed despite insufficient evidence.
Nie Shubin, who was 20 years old when he faced a firing squad in 1995 after being convicted of rape and murder, had his conviction overturned by second circuit court under the Supreme People's Court, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The court re-heard the two-decades-old rape and murder case, in which Nie was found guilty and executed, over concerns that the evidence presented was insufficient.
Nie, from Hebei Province, was convicted of raping and murdering a woman whose body was discovered by her father in a corn field on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang city, in the northern province of Hebei.
In 2005, another man confessed to the crime.
In December 2014, the SPC, following an application from Hebei Higher People's Court, assigned the higher court of Shandong Province to reviewthe case.
A five-member panel at the Shandong court carried out the review and found that the evidence presented in the original trial did not identify Nie as the perpetrator beyond all doubt, and the trial and investigation were both peppered with major inconsistencies.
Thus, the panel concluded that the evidence was questionable and suggested the case be reheard.
The SPC statement said the panel, during its review, had examined the case files, listened to the defendant's lawyer and consulted forensic scientists over the autopsy report.
Nie's case has been compared to a 1996 case in Inner Mongolia, where a teenager named Huugjilt was executed for the rape and murder of a woman the same year.
A self-confessed serial rapist and killer later admitted to the crime while in police custody in 2005.
In December 2014, Huugjilt's conviction was officially quashed by Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Higher People's Court.