BEIJING, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- China's highest court announced Friday it overturned the conviction of a man convicted and executed in 1995 for rape and murder.
The Supreme People's Court ruled that testimony in the trial of Nie Shubin was "unclear, and the evidence insufficient" and reversed the verdict. It apologized to Nie's family, which has campaigned to clear his name, and advised the family on seeking compensation.
Nie, 20, a Hebei province farmer, was executed by firing squad after he was convicted of raping and murdering a woman and a provincial court dismissed his appeal. Another man confessed 11 years ago that he committed, not Nie, but his admission was rejected.
It is unusual for convictions to be overturned in Chinese courts, which have a conviction rate of 99 percent. Rather than an indication of the courts' willingness to correct mistakes, the high court's ruling can be seen as an example of a lack of independence in China's judicial system; government officials routinely influence court decisions and prosecutors commonly obtain confessions from suspects through police torture, the newspaper South China Morning Post said Friday.
Zhang Huanzhi, Nie's mother, said after the ruling, "This is the day I've been waiting for and this is the result I've been wanting, but no matter how good the result is, I've lost my son, after all. My son will never be back. This is what's causing me the greatest pain. This justice came way too late."