1996: Huugjilt, wrongful execution

On this date in 1996, a Chinese Mongol with the singular name of Huugjilt was executed by gunshot for rape and murder at Hohhot. With benefit of hindsight, it’s come to be viewed as “one of the most notorious cases of judicial injustice in China.”

Huugjilt discovered the body of a woman named Yang in a public toilet at a factory, on April 9, 1996 — just 62 days before the execution. She’d been raped and strangled, and that official tunnel vision common to wrongful conviction scenarios immediately zeroed in on Huugjilt himself. With conviction quotas to fulfill, authorities abused Huugjilt into a confession and an overhasty conclusion.

“It has not been rare for higher authorities to exert pressure on local public security departments and judiciary to crack serious murder cases,” China Daily editorialized. “Nor has it been rare for the police to extort confessions through torture. And suspects have been sentenced without solid evidence except for extorted confessions.”

This conviction unraveled in 2005 when a serial sex predator named Zhao Zhihong admitted the murder. (He was charged with many similar crimes besides.) The belated investigations ensuing from the resulting uproar cleared Huugjilt, even to the extent of holding a formal posthumous retrial that overturned the original verdict.

On this day..

One thought on “1996: Huugjilt, wrongful execution

  1. Well well just another jump to conclusion about a persons guilt. It happened in China with a notorious and bias Judicial system and could never happen in the enlightened west. Surely with Americas checks and balances and the long wait before sentences are carried out no one who is innocent can be executed. Texas has executed at least THREE who’s innocence is beyond reasonable doubt unless Junk Science is produced in court as evidence, evidence is not called or given to the defence to provide exoneration or its lost in a welter of dubious evidence. So don’t look and feel so cocky America your medieival systems are also at fault.

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