A Chinese teenagerexecuted after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago was declared innocent by a court Monday, in a rare overturning of a wrongful conviction.
The 18-year-old, named Hugjiltu and also known as Qoysiletu, was found guilty and put to death in Inner Mongolia in 1996, but doubt was cast on the verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005.
"The Inner Mongolia Higher People's Court finds Hugjiltu's original guilty verdict... is not consistent with the facts and there is insufficient evidence," the court in Hohhot said in a statement.
"Hugjiltu is found not guilty."
The court's deputy president gave Hugjiltu's parents compensation of 30,000 yuan ($4,850), according to the official Xinhua News Agency -- although the money was a personal donation by the head of the court, it added, rather than an official payment by the institution.
Images on social media showed the deputy president apologising to Hugjiltu's now elderly parents.
"This is an amazing thing the court did, to admit that they were wrong," said Wang Gongyi, deputy director of the research institute of the Ministry of Justice.
"It also sends a clear message to the police and prosecutors around the country: if there's not enough evidence, don't impose wrongful convictions," he told AFP.