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Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 09:34

Lawyers question 1995 execution of 21-year-old

By Zhao Ruixue in Jinan
Lawyers question 1995 execution of 21-year-old
Lawyer Chen Guangwu reviews files of Nie Shubin's case with Zhang Huanzhi, Nie's mother, at Shandong High People's Court on Tuesday. Nie may have been wrongfully executed, they say. (Guo Xulei / Xinhua)

Two lawyers representing the family of Nie Shubin, who was executed in 1995 after being convicted of raping and killing a woman in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, went to the Shandong High People's Court on Tuesday to read judicial documents related to the case.

They were accompanied by Nie's mother, Zhang Huanzhi.

Nie was executed at age 21. A decade later, Wang Shujin, then 47, confessed to the crimes.

"Judging from the judicial documents, it could be a wrongful execution," Li Shuting, one of the two lawyers, said on Tuesday after reading the documents. "The case is untenable. There are serious questions about the judicial process."

Chen Guangwu, the second lawyer, said that investigative files related to the case consist of only 136 pages - "far fewer than needed for a criminal case like this, showing the case is probably a wrongful one".

In addition to the documents concerning Nie, the two lawyers also read Wang Shujin's files.

Access to the material "went beyond my expectations", Li said. "The court not only gave us enough time to read and copy the files, but allowed us to read Wang's files."

Lawyers have long complained that the Hebei High People's Court would not allow them to read documents. The case was transferred to Shandong in December for a new investigation as required by the Supreme People's Court.

Five judges of the Shandong court, accompanied by a court clerk and two clerks for video and audio work, arraigned Wang at the detention house in Hebei province on Friday in the rape and murder, which occurred in 1994.

Wang told the judges that he had raped and killed the woman in a cornfield on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang and that Nie was innocent, according to his lawyer, Peng Siyuan.

Li, one of the lawyers representing Nie's family, said it was uncertain when the Shandong court would hear the case but arguments would likely be submitted in a week.

In a similar case that received wide publicity, a man named Hugjiltu from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region was convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet in Hohhot in April 1996. He was sentenced to death and executed a month later.

In 2005, another man, Zhao Zhihong, confessed to the murder. On Dec 5 of last year, Hugjiltu was acquitted; Zhao was sentenced to death earlier this year for rape, murder and robbery.

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