International - POSTED: 2010/05/10 10:32
A man imprisoned nearly 10 years for murder was freed after his alleged victim turned up alive, a case that raises concerns about police using torture to extract confessions.
The Higher People's Court in the central province of Henan pronounced Zhao Zuohai, 57, innocent, after the man he was accused of killing, Zhao Zhenshang, returned to their village April 30, the China Daily newspaper reported Monday.
An investigation was under way into the conviction, and Zhao Zuohai will receive about $45,000 in compensation for his wrongful imprisonment, the newspaper reported.
The incident raises concerns about police torture, which Zhao Zuohai's relatives say was used to force him to confess even though he was innocent. Torture is believed to be used widely by police and government officials who rely heavily on coerced confessions to prove criminal cases.
In 1997, Zhao Zhenshang, now 58, disappeared after having an argument with Zhao Zuohai, the report said, citing court documents. The two men are not related.
Zhao Zuohai was arrested in 1999 after a headless body believed to be Zhao Zhenshang was found, the China Daily said. After he went to prison, Zhao Zuohai's wife remarried and her new husband adopted his children.
Zhao Zuohai's relatives say he has scars after being tortured by police into confessing, the China Daily reported.