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Girl writes to court pleading for father's life
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Two years ago her father brutally killed her mother. Now the 10-year-old girl is asking the country's highest court to spare her dad's life in a case that has split the girl's family and divided public opinion across the country.

Jin Jin holds a family picture.

"I have lost my mother and I cannot afford to lose my father. I don't want to become an orphan," the girl, know as Jin Jin, wrote in her letter to the Supreme People's Court (SPC) on March 9, the Beijing Morning Post reported yesterday.

The girl's father, 36-year-old Wang Junbao from Xuchang city of Central China's Henan province, was sentenced to death in Dec 2007 by Xuchang municipal intermediate people's court after he hammered his 31-year-old wife Feng Li to death on March 12, 2007.

In January this year, Henan provincial high people's court upheld the ruling and turned the case over to the SPC for a final review.

The girl's resolve to save her father moved Ding Qiaorong, head of the Xinxiang orphanage, who helped her find Beijing lawyer Shen Teng.

Shen assisted the girl in writing a letter to the SPC and suggested a death penalty with a two-year reprieve instead.

"From my meetings with him to letters left for his daughter, the murderer has repeatedly expressed his love for his dead wife and regrets his stupid impulse leading to the murder," Shen said.

"If the court can change the death penalty with immediate execution into a two-year reprieve, it will be good for Jin Jin's future," Shen said.

Nearly 64 percent of 23,781 people polled online in a survey by major information portal Sina.com yesterday were sympathetic to the girl and hoped the SPC would overturn the death sentence on the man.

Another 31 percent of those polled disagreed with a reprieve and said those who killed people should pay for the acts with their own lives.

"Wang committed an unpardonable crime. If he doesn't receive capital punishment, there will be even more harm done to society," said local lawyer Zhao Xiaolu.

"We can not sacrifice justice and equality for mercy," Zhao added.

A death sentence review can last for a few months or even longer, depending on the circumstances of each case.

The SPC will overturn a death sentence if it finds the original facts are not clear or if evidence on the case is insufficient.

All the reviews are usually highly confidential and the judges working on the cases are not identified.

Insiders from the SPC told China Daily the criminal tribunal had not begun handling the case yet. An official, who refused to be named, said the court would surely deal with it strictly according to law.

"We have to make clear whether the father had abused the mother for a long time and we also have to consider the opinions of the relatives of the deceased," he said.

(China Daily March 19)

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