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Chinese student sues court for wrongful conviction

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

A Chinese university student is seeking nearly three million yuan (USD 4.70 lakh) compensation from a city court which convicted him for murdering his classmate 12 years ago but acquitted him recently due to a lack of evidence.

In three retrials, all ordered by Supreme People's Court, Xiangtan Intermediate People's Court repeatedly found Zeng Aiyun guilty of the 2003 murder of Zhou Yuheng, his classmate at the Xiangtan University in central China's Hunan Province.

During the fourth and most recent retrial, however, the court changed its verdict and found another classmate as the real culprit, setting Zeng free after he spent almost 12 years behind bars.

Zeng was released in July and now demands 940,841 yuan for his wrongful imprisonment, which lasted from October 28, 2003 to July 21, 2015, Shanghai Daily reported citing thepaper.Cn website.

According to Chinese national law, compensation for wrongful imprisonment is calculated by multiplying the amount of days spent in prison -- 4,282 days in Zeng's case -- by the national mean daily income in the year prior to the individual's release.

In addition to the state-governed compensation, Zeng is seeking two million yuan for the physical and mental suffering the murder conviction and subsequent imprisonment caused to him and his family.

Zeng said that the court ruined his future, and that his mother suffered from amnesia and insomnia. Both conditions, he claimed, were triggered by the wrongful conviction.

Zeng also said that the Xiangtan Intermediate People's Court must restore his reputation, although he did not suggest how the court might do so.

A hearing is set for December 1.

In July, the court acquitted Zeng after it found that another Xiangtan University student, Chen Huazhang, who was initially tried alongside Zeng and sentenced to life imprisonment, carried out the murder.

Chen, the court found, was jealous of the attention Zhou enjoyed from their mentor and decided to poison Zhou with diazepam on October 27, 2003.

The court did not provide further details on its ruling.

First Published: Tue, November 17 2015. 21:28 IST