Man cleared of rape conviction compensated
Zhang Zhichao, who had his name cleared last year after being wrongfully detained for raping a girl more than 14 years ago, received State compensation of 3.32 million yuan ($512,000) on Tuesday from a court in Shandong province.
The Linyi Intermediate People's Court released the decision via the WeChat instant messaging platform, saying the payment followed negotiations with Zhang and his lawyers that took into account the duration of Zhang's wrongful detention, his mental anguish and the average living standard in Shandong, his home province.
On Tuesday, the court apologized to Zhang, now 31.
Li Xun, Zhang's lawyer from Beijing Dayu Law Firm, said the compensation includes about 1.89 million yuan for his client's 5,449 days of lost personal liberty or wrongful detention and 1.42 million for mental anguish.
"Any amount of money cannot cover Zhang's suffering over the past decade, as what he lost was the best time of his life," Li said. "Since he was acquitted, Zhang has started his new life working for a restaurant, and he told me he would give the compensation payment to his mother."
Last year, when it was announced that Zhang was not guilty, he said he was willing to learn some skills to support his family. He said at that time: "No one wanted to see such an incident, but it happened."
His case dates back to January 2005, when a girl in Linshu, a county in Linyi, went missing. Her body was later found in a high school restroom. Zhang, then 16 and a student in the school, was named as the suspect and detained by local police.
In March 2006, he was sentenced to life in prison for rape by the intermediate court. One of Zhang's male classmates, Wang Guangchao, was identified as having helped Zhang cover up the offense and was sentenced to three years with a three-year reprieve.
Zhang's mother, Ma Yuping, began appealing the ruling, as her son told her when she visited him in the prison that he had been tortured during police interrogations.
At the end of 2017, the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, ordered the Shandong High People's court to rehear the case.
In January last year, both Zhang and Wang were acquitted by the high court because the evidence in the case could not prove their convictions.
A report by thecover.cn, a news outlet based in Sichuan province, said on Tuesday that Wang recently received State compensation of about 236,000 yuan.