Nie Shubin Wrongful Execution Investigation Reportedly at an Impasse

May 25, 2005

A Hebei provincial government investigation into the Nie Shubin wrongful execution case is at an impasse, and local court resistance has blocked Nie’s family's petitions for justice, reports the Beijing Morning News . Nie Shubin was executed in 1995 for a rape and murder that another man confessed to in January 2005, but local authorities have resisted attempts to exonerate Nie (see related stories here and here). According to the Beijing Morning News report, Hebei authorities have released no information on the official investigation into the case, and “all signs point to the fact” that the investigation has reached an impasse.

The report identifies two obstacles. First, the trial has not yet begun of the man who confessed to the murder for which Nie was executed, so no court has determined officially that the suspect’s confession is truthful. Previous stories in the Chinese press suggest that local officials are concerned that if the new suspect were to retract his confession, they might then have no convict in the case. Second, a local court in Hebei has rebuffed numerous efforts by Nie’s family to obtain a copy of the original guilty verdict. The court reportedly has said that the case occurred before China’s Criminal Law was amended in 1996, and at that time the law did not require that a copy of the verdict be provided to the family. Nie’s family has also petitioned the Supreme People’s Court, but the SPC reportedly refused to accept the family’s petition because their submission lacked a copy of the original guilty verdict.