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Chinese man acquitted of murder hugs mother and wife for the first time in 27 years in prison


A Chinese villager was acquitted of murder after being wrongly convicted of the murder of two boys in 1993 and subsequently placed on death row.

Zhang Yuhuan, 52, cried heartbroken when he finally met and hugged his 83-year-old mother and ex-wife in their rural village after proving his innocence yesterday.

Mr. Zhang, who had spent nearly 27 years in prison, alleged that the police tortured him and threatened to force him to confess to the crime.

He was imprisoned for nearly 27 years before being acquitted of murder

The footage shows Zhang Yuhuan, 52, hugging his mother and ex-wife after he was declared a free man in China. He was imprisoned for nearly 27 years before being acquitted of murder

Touching footage shows the emotional man bursting into tears during the long-awaited family reunion.

After returning to his home in Zhang Family Village in Jinxian County, Jiangxi Province, south China, he held his elderly mother and former partners tightly in his arms.

Overwhelmed by emotions, his ex-wife collapsed on the scene and, according to the video outlet Pear, had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Another clip shows Mr. Zhang crying and hugging his long-separated younger son, who was only a toddler when he was wrongly arrested. His older son was four years old at the time.

Mr. Zhang's ex-wife, Song Xiaonv, and her younger son are waiting for the man to return after he was declared a free man on Tuesday.

A picture posted on social media shows Mr. Zhang and Ms. Song together before he was wrongly arrested

Mr. Zhang's ex-wife, Song Xiaonv, and her younger son are waiting for the man (left) to return after he was declared a free man on Tuesday. A picture (right) on social media shows Mr. Zhang and Ms. Song together before he was wrongly arrested. They divorced in 2001

For nearly three decades, Mr. Zhang and his family never gave up hope and repeatedly appealed the court's decision.

His ex-wife, Song Xiaonv, supported Mr. Zhang all the time, but the couple decided to divorce in 2001 because they were unsure whether the husband would ever leave the prison or not.

Mr. Zhang finally proved his innocence on Tuesday when the Jiangxi Provincial Supreme People's Court withdrew his 2001 suspended death sentence for the man.

The court made the U-turn after it issued a statement questioning the authenticity of Mr. Zhang's confessions. It was also claimed that no direct evidence could prove that the man killed the children.

For nearly three decades, Mr. Zhang and his family never gave up hope and repeatedly appealed the court's decision

Another video clip shows Mr. Zhang crying and hugging his long-separated younger son, who was only a toddler when he was forced to leave his family behind and be imprisoned

Another video clip shows Mr. Zhang crying and hugging his long-separated younger son (right), who was only a toddler when he was forced to leave his family behind and be imprisoned

The controversial case dates back to a fateful day in October 1993 when the bodies of two boys, ages six and four, were found in a pond in the Zhang family's village.

As a neighbor of the boys, Mr. Zhang was identified as the main suspect and the police arrested him two days later.

In January 1995, the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court gave Mr. Zhang a suspended sentence of two years' restitution after he was found guilty of first-degree murder.

The death sentence with reparation is a type of death sentence under Chinese criminal law. The convicted person is given two years' notice from execution.

At the end of the two-year sentence, the sentence is reduced to life imprisonment if the person does not commit further offenses within the period.

Overwhelmed with emotion, Mr. Zhang's ex-wife collapsed during the reunion and was hospitalized

Ms. Song's younger son is filmed taking her mother to an ambulance after she passed out

Overwhelmed with emotion, Mr. Zhang's ex-wife collapsed during the reunion and was hospitalized

Mr. Zhang admitted the crime to the police, but insisted that he made forced confessions through threats, extortion, and torture during interrogation.

Two months later, the Supreme Court asked the Intermediate Court to re-examine the case because of "unclear facts and insufficient evidence".

However, the trial was not retried until November 2001 for reasons unknown and the Intermediate Court upheld its original decision.

Mr. Zhang appealed the decision, but the court denied his petition, the state-run China Daily reported, without providing further details.

While he was in prison, Mr. Zhang insisted on his innocence. His family sent numerous documents to the judicial departments for a further hearing.

Mr. Zhang formally petitioned the Jiangxi Province Supreme People's Court in August 2017, asking the judge to review the verdict.

In March last year, the Supreme Court decided to reopen the case, and a trial took place on July 9 this year.

On August 4th, the court overturned Mr. Zhang's suspended death sentence and declared him a free man. He returned to his home village on the same day.

A flyer showed Mr. Zhang on trial in the provincial Supreme Court on July 9th

A flyer showed Mr. Zhang on trial in the provincial Supreme Court on July 9th

The court overturned Mr. Zhang's suspended death sentence and declared him a free man

The court overturned Mr. Zhang's suspended death sentence and declared him a free man

Tian Ganlin, the Supreme Court judge, was quoted as saying, “After reviewing the materials, we found that there was no direct evidence to prove Zhang's belief.

"So we accepted the prosecutor's proposal and declared Zhang innocent."

The Supreme Court said relevant officials from the court apologized to Mr. Zhang for the illegal conviction and informed him of his right to seek compensation from the state.

His attorney Wang Fei said they were discussing an acceptable payout. He also said that they intended to hold those who committed miscarriages of justice in the case legally accountable.

Wang told Shangyou News after the retrial, "I am not only defending Zhang Yuhuan, but the numerous Zhang Yuhuan people throughout society.

"If you think about it, anyone could become the next Zhang Yuhuan in the face of cruel, coercive interrogation."

The attorney continued, "I suggest that the court take the information from the inspectors and those who participated in the forced confession to the regulators for treatment."

It remains unclear who or whether anyone was responsible for the death of the boys 27 years ago.

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