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China Exclusive: Wrongly jailed men determined to start new life


10:54, April 14, 2013

HEFEI, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Truck driver Zhang Gaoping, 49, is still willing to give strangers free rides, even though a similar ride that he gave ten years ago landed him in jail for a decade.

On the night of May 18, 2003, Zhang Gaoping and his nephew Zhang Hui gave 17-year-old Wang Dong a free ride when they were transporting freight to Shanghai.

They dropped the girl off in the city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province at 1:50 a.m. the next morning and continued on their way to Shanghai.

Wang's naked body was discovered later that day. The two men became the principal suspects in her death and were detained on May 23, as they were the last people to have seen Wang alive. However, police could not find any physical evidence to charge Zhang and his nephew with the crime.

Zhang Hui was given a death sentence and Zhang Gaoping was sentenced to life in prison on April 21, 2004 for the crime of rape by the Hangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

The court judgment was changed to a death sentence with a two-year reprieve for Zhang Gaoping and a 15-year prison term for his nephew Zhang Hui during a second trial conducted by the Zhejiang Provincial Higher People's Court on Oct. 19, 2004.

Zhang Gaoping said they were forced to confess to the crime under great pressure and torture from police and their fellow inmates.

They were freed on March 26 this year by the Zhejiang Provincial Higher People's Court, as there was new evidence showing the possibility of another suspect and evidence presented during the previous trial was not enough to support the conviction.

On that day, Zhang Gaofa, along with 16 relatives, drove to Hangzhou in and escorted his brother and son to their home in the village of Qichuan in neighboring Anhui Province.

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