The time that Zhang wrongly spent behind bars is unprecedented, according to Chinese media. The previous record holder, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper, is believed to have been Liu Zhonglin, who was detained innocently for about a quarter of a century.
Zhang, now 52, was initially sentenced to death for the murders in 1995. That sentence was later commuted to a life sentence. The court in Jiangxi decided last year that the case could be redone and that still led to an acquittal.
Zhang’s life is completely derailed by the judicial error, according to the newspaper. He was married at the time of his arrest and had two children. His wife remarried after a few years and his children have since married themselves. His oldest grandson is 12 years old.
Zhang told Chinese media that he barely recognized many relatives after his release. He now demands that action be taken against those who pressured him to make a false confession. He will also ask for substantial compensation, according to his counsel.
In China, most criminal cases end in a conviction. The conviction rate in 2016 was about 99 percent.
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