Having served 13 years in prison, Zhang Zhichao walked free on Monday after a court found his conviction was based on “questionable facts and contradictory evidence”. Zhang was a 16-year-old schoolboy when he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and rape of a fellow pupil in Shandong in 2006, despite having an alibi and police not finding his DNA at the scene.
Desperate to prove his innocence, his family filed an appeal in 2011 after Zhang told his mother the police had obtained his confession by torturing him, but the appeal was rejected.
They continued to fight. They petitioned the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing three times in 2016 and 2017 until finally convincing it to reopen the case which ultimately led to him being cleared and released from prison.
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