Nie Shubin exonerated 21 years after his execution

Nie Shubin/CNN

Nie Shubin/CNN

From KFDR: “China’s top court overturned Nie Shubin’s conviction Friday, in a landmark case that exposed deep flaws in China’s criminal justice system.”

Nie Shubin was executed by firing squad in 1995 without notifying his parents. He was just 20 years old and had been detained for seven months.

Nie Shubin was found guilty of the 1994 rape/murder of a woman in Shijiazhuang, in Hebei province.  The 1995 conviction and the sentencing were called “unreliable and incomplete” by the Supreme People’s Court. Last June, the highest court ordered the case to be retried “openly and fairly.” In 2005, Wang Shujin confessed to the rape/murder. He was arrested for another crime. Wang Shujin also confessed to the rape and murder of three other women in Hebei Province from 1994 through 1995.

The investigation by the Shandong court, which was extended four times due to complexities in the case, concluded that there were major inconsistencies during various aspects of the trial and conviction process. Among these inconsistencies included fabrication of Nie Shubin’s signature on six different legal documents.”

Significant gaps in this case include a confession given possibly under torture and the lack of direct evidence linking Nie Shubin to the crime or the victim. From the papers, “the police medical examiner did not even try to recover traces of sperm from the victim’s body, the only evidence used to convict Nie on the charge of rape was his confession—a clear violation of the Criminal Procedure Law.”

I do not understand why police zoomed in on Nie as a suspect. Did he know the woman? Was he seen in the area? Was Nie the only suspect? And if we do not have semen to test for DNA can we completely trust Shujin’s confession? Or was DNA recovered later and then compared to Shujin?

If you wish to read more about the Nie Shubin case, click here. It takes you to the Human Rights Journal from the Dui Hua Foundation. The Dui Hua is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the protection of universally recognized human rights in China and in the United States.

Rest in peace, Nie Shubin.