Hebei villagers were jailed for reporting illegal sand mining and were acquitted after 671 days in custody

 Hebei villagers were jailed for reporting illegal sand mining and were acquitted after 671 days in custody

In 2016, Bian Zhentong was falsely accused of extortion and was finally acquitted after 671 days of detention. /Photos provided by interviewees

1. The informant was arrested after an official investigation into illegal sand mining was confirmed

Upstream news: why do you report illegal sand mining?

Bian Zhentong: Im from Zhouzhuang village, Langya Mountain Town, Yi County, Hebei Province. I usually live by farming and working outside. Chengming Agricultural Technology Development Co., Ltd. is the operator of Zhouzhuang village river regulation project. The company has contracted the right to use and manage the river channel with a length of 15 meters on both sides of the central line of Caohe River in Zhouzhuang village, with a validity period of 30 years. After entering the site, Chengming company bought two sand yards to harness the river and mine sand at the same time. On October 10, 2014, the flood control dam collapsed, endangering public safety. When Bian Zhenpeng, a villager, called the police and was arrested, I called the Ministry of public security and reported to the Baoding mayors hotline that Chengming company illegally mined sand and collapsed the flood control dam, endangering public safety; the village director even secondarily collaborated with Lian Fucai to destroy the cultivated land for illegal sand mining. The sand mining behavior of Chengming company has damaged the farmland ecology near the river course, making many land unable to continue to cultivate.

Upstream news: is it effective after reporting?

Bian Zhentong: the report was effective soon. The police officer from the sand control office of the Public Security Bureau of Yixian County contacted me by telephone and went to the scene to investigate. They confirmed that all my reports were true, and filed a case of sand mining in damaged land by the village director. Later, the village director Lian Zhong found me through my cousin Bian.

Upstream news: village director Lian secondary asked Bian to ask you to do?

Bian Zhentong: in order to allow lian to rent land for sand mining, he promised to provide my father with a minimum living allowance, and asked the village to give my father the disability allowance that he had been in arrears for three years, and he would not be in arrears in the future. If he did not promise to rent land to him, he would not care about anything. But I didnt report that he used it to blackmail my father into renting land. After I reported that he had destroyed the land for sand mining, in order to prevent us from reporting that he had forced to rent land with the policy of benefiting agriculture and disability allowance, he offered to give my father a compensation of 50000 yuan, and asked Secretary Li, the village branch secretary of dongxishui village, to keep it for a few days. Later, Secretary Li called Bian and asked him to go to dongxishui village to get money. After secondary confirmation, he signed his name on the certificate fingerprint.

After getting 50000 yuan, Chengming company temporarily stopped sand mining. In March 2015, Chengming company started sand mining again, and I reported it again. On May 15 of the same year, the Water Affairs Bureau of Yixian County issued a written decision on administrative punishment to the legal representative of Chengming company, saying that he was engaged in sand mining activities in river course without administrative permission, and ordered to stop the illegal act and restore the original state within a time limit.

On the day of punishment, fan LAN Gang, an accountant of Chengming company, reported to the Public Security Bureau of Yixian County that I had extorted 50000 yuan in cash as a threat.

Upstream news: the case reported by Chengming company?

Bian Zhentong: Yes. I have no intersection with Chengming company, and I dont know the origin of the 50000 yuan reported. Ive been through the normal reporting channels, and I havent petitioned.

After that, the police pursued me online. On September 17, 2015, I was arrested in Beijing; on September 23 of the same year, I was detained by the Public Security Bureau of Yixian County on suspicion of extortion.

The Yi County procuratorate charged me with the crime of extortion with the indictment of E-Prosecution (2016) No. 25, and filed a public prosecution in the court of Yi County on February 4, 2016. In the process of litigation, the procuratorate requests to withdraw the prosecution on the ground that the evidence is changed and does not meet the requirements for prosecution. On April 12, 2016, the Yi County Court ruled to allow the procuratorate to withdraw the case.

On December 19, 2018, the Baoding Municipal Intermediate Peoples court ruled Bian Zhentong innocent. /Photos provided by interviewees

Upstream news: the prosecutors office has withdrawn the case. How did you sentence you later?

Bian Zhentong: it was not a month after the court ruled that the Yi County procuratorate withdrew the case. On May 9, 2016, I was arrested for the second time by the Yi County procuratorate. The charge was still extortion, and I was sued to the court on May 11.

On December 30, 2016, the first instance of the Yi County Court ruled that I was guilty of extortion and sentenced me for one year and ten months.

The peoples Court of Yixian County held that enjoying the minimum living standard is stipulated by national laws and policies, which does not belong to the scope of civil agreement, and even the secondary commitment is invalid. The court held that I reported that Chengming company had caused the company to stop work, which had already posed a threat to the company. The company was forced to pay and deliver the company, which was in line with the objective performance of the crime of extortion.

Upstream news: after you were arrested, what did the villagers think?

Bian Zhentong: after I was arrested, the sky of my family collapsed. No villagers dared to come to my house. In order to let me out quickly, under Bians persuasion, my wife returned 50000 yuan which was kept for my father to the police station. The land that had been reclaimed and planted with peach trees was rented to Chengming company under the joint threat of Chengming company and village cadres, so as to have an acquittal letter of understanding.

At that time, people in the village always said, I always said that Bian Zhentongs small arm could be twisted over his thigh. Zhentong was retaliated.

It was not until February 2016, when I was released on bail and returned to the village, that the villagers relaxed a little. You dont know what the concept of bail pending trial is, but you know that I was released. Im very happy.

Upstream news: after being sentenced in the first instance, you appealed.

Bian Zhentong: Im sure to appeal. Im especially wronged.

On April 6, 2017, Baoding intermediate peoples court remanded some of the facts in the original judgment for retrial. However, on August 31, 2018, the court of Yixian County held that, for the purpose of illegal possession, I threatened and coerced the victims, and forcibly obtained other peoples property with a large amount, which has constituted the crime of extortion. The facts of the crime charged by the public prosecution organ are clear, the evidence is reliable and sufficient, and the charge is established.

In September 3rd of that year, I noticed that the official account of Yixian County prosecutor issued the article the two chief procurators of Yixian County procurator attended the trial committee to highlight the effectiveness of supervision, and the case was changed to a guilty verdict. In July 27th and August 24th, the chief prosecutor took the two time to attend the trial committee to give the supervision opinion. Referring to my case of extortion, the case was remanded for retrial after appeal, and the collegiate bench proposed to make a verdict of innocence after the trial and submitted it to the trial committee for discussion. The procurator general was invited to attend the trial committee as nonvoting delegates. After discussion, the Committee adopted the opinions of the procuratorial organ and made a guilty judgment on my extortion case.

After reading this article, I learned that my case was intended to be acquitted in the retrial.

3. After the final verdict of innocence, Bian Zhentong applied for two state compensation

Bian Zhentong: Yes. I was not satisfied with the decision of the Yi County Court and appealed again. On December 3, 2018, Baoding intermediate peoples court held a public hearing on the case, and held that I had no intention of illegally occupying other peoples property subjectively, nor did it meet the objective behavioral requirements of the crime of extortion. The decision of administrative punishment issued by the Water Affairs Bureau of Yixian County proves that Chengming company is illegal in sand mining. My action is to protect the collective environment of the village and exercise the legitimate rights of the villagers.

On December 19, 2018, Baoding intermediate peoples court decided that I was not guilty.

Bian Zhentong: I filed two state compensation applications.

First of all, I was very healthy before I entered the detention center of Yixian County. However, long-term overwork in the detention center caused serious physical damage. The diseases such as cervical spine and lumbar spine injury are chronic and long-term, and recovery is also very difficult. This has caused serious inconvenience to my work and life. Therefore, Yixian Public Security Bureau made a wrong application for compensation.

Second, I was wrongly detained for 1 year and 10 months because of not handling the matter fairly according to law, which caused great damage to my body and mind, and filed a state compensation to the Yi county court. On November 19, 2019, the Yi County Court made a decision to compensate me for more than 210000 yuan for personal freedom infringement and 20000 yuan for spiritual damage. However, the courts demands for public apology and refund of 50000 yuan for my fathers compensation were not supported. I was not satisfied with this, and applied to Baoding intermediate peoples court for compensation. The total compensation for spiritual damage and personal freedom was nearly 290000 yuan, and 50000 yuan of compensation was returned to my father.

On February 24, 2020, Baoding intermediate peoples court made a state compensation decision, saying that Bian Zhentongs lumbar and cervical spine lesions could not be identified as the result of the detention houses violation of personal rights. /China judicial document network

4. If the disease is not identified in the detention center, a retrial application is submitted to the provincial high court

Upstream news: what was the result of the processing of your first national compensation application?

Bian Zhentong: on February 24 this year, Baoding intermediate peoples court made (2019) ji06 Commission compensation No. 10 national compensation decision. The court held that it was unable to determine the existence of forced labor, forced wearing of equipment, beating and other violations of prisoners personal rights in Yixian detention center, nor could it be determined that my lumbar and cervical lesions were caused by the detention houses violation of personal rights. Therefore, the court held that the reasons for my claim for state compensation were not tenable.

With regard to the second state compensation application. On April 17, this year, Baoding intermediate peoples court made (2019) ji06 Commission compensation No. 11 national compensation decision, Yi County Peoples court compensated me with 211995.74 yuan of compensation for restricting personal freedom and 50000 yuan of spiritual damage consolation, and apologized to me, rehabilitated my reputation and eliminated the influence within the scope of infringement, and asked Yi county court to return 50000 yuan of compensation from my father.

Upstream news: why apply for retrial of the state compensation decision of Baoding intermediate peoples court?

Bian Zhentong: Recently, I filed an application for retrial of state compensation to Hebei Provincial Peoples court, and rejected Baoding intermediate peoples courts (2019) ji06 Weipei No. 10 national compensation decision, because during the trial period of Baoding intermediate peoples court, I provided the physical examination report after I came out of the detention center to confirm the occurrence of lumbar and cervical lesions. The witness testified in court to prove that I had no physical problems before I was put into the detention center. My diary in the detention center recorded the fact that I was forced to work every day. Although there were records of waist pain and bilateral knee pain in the physical examination form of the detention center, I could not deny the fact that I was forced to work, because what the diary recorded as documentary evidence was objective, and the court had no reason not to deny it The law excludes the causal relationship between my physical injury and forced labor.

5. I dont regret reporting, land is the lifeblood of our farmers

Bian Zhentong: I thought at that time, the good result finally came. At that time, I always felt that all crimes and evils would be punished by law immediately. Our damaged land environment will be quickly restored, and people can immediately get their own land. Thanks to lawyers, media reporters, environmental protection organizations and other just people, without them, my unjust case will not be overturned and environmental damage will not be curbed.

Upstream news: is Chengming company still in normal operation?

Bian Zhentong: what I learned is that on December 26, 2018, Baoding Public Security Bureau exposed ten typical cases in the field of ecological environment investigated and dealt with in Baoding city since 2018, including the illegal mining case of a sand mining site in Yixian County. After investigation, the criminal suspect Dong opened a sand quarry in Zhouzhuang Town, Langyashan Town, Yi county to carry out river sand mining. Since January 2017, in order to obtain high profits, he has mined 26263 cubic meters of sand and gravel in Zhouzhuang Village section of Caohe River in Yi county. According to the price Certification Center of Yixian development and Reform Bureau, the value of sand and stone in the over mining range is 1103046 yuan.

Upstream news: do you regret it? If you encounter similar problems again, will you report them?

Bian Zhentong: I dont regret reporting. Land is the lifeblood of our farmers. When the environment is destroyed, the land will suffer. If this happens again, I will report it.

(function(){( window.slotbydup=window .slotbydup||[]).push({id:u5811557,container:ssp_ 5811557, async:true }Source of this article: Li Chao, responsible editor of upstream news_ NB12814