The four Hanoi cops who tortured a 54-year old man to death in 2012 escaped the heavy sentence sought by prosecutors on Thursday.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuyen, former deputy police chief of Kim No Commune, Dong Anh District, got 17 years for initiating the beating and acting as principal attacker.
Nguyen Trong Kien received 16 years for his active role in the assault.
Hoang Ngoc Thuc and Doan Van Tuyen got eight years, each, for tying the victim up and keeping a lookout during the beating.
The sentences were handed down after a two-day trial that wrapped up on Thursday.
The four officers were charged with murder and prosecutors had suggested that Tuyen be sentenced to life and the others to between 12 and 19 years in prison.
The Hanoi People’s Court opened their first trial related to the crime on May 8 but ordered a fresh investigation after the defendants said they'd been forced to plead guilty.
The panel of judges dismissed their claim on Thursday.
In their decision, the magistrates decided that the former interrogators knew better than anyone how to avoid being forced to admit anything against their will.
According to the indictment, the cops took Nguyen Mau Thuan to their station at around noon on August 30, 2012 after neighbors accused him of assault.
Nguyen Duc Vong, 60, chief of the commune police, handcuffed Thuan before handing him over to his deputy, Tuyen.
Thuan was then tied to a chair.
When he denied the assault charges against him, Tuyen slapped him.
Tuyen and Kien then took turns beating Thuan’s thighs with a rubber baton.
When Thuan started to curse at them, Kien struck him in the chest with his baton, causing him to fall backward and break the chair.
The officers transferred him to another chair and tied his arms and legs.
Doan Van Tuyen was assigned to hold the chair, Thuc keep a lookout while Tuyen the deputy chief and Kien resumed beating Thuan’s thighs as they interrogated him.
They also put pens between his fingers and squeezed his hands.
At around 4pm, Tuyen the deputy chief, called Vong and told him Thuan was too drunk to continue their interrogation.
When Vong saw Thuan, he ordered his subordinates to untie him and lay him on a bed, according to the court.
Vong reportedly called for emergency medical treatment.
When commune health officials arrived, they could not detect Thuan's vital signs.
The medics rushed the victim to Dong Anh District General Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.
An autopsy report noted significant bruises on his thighs, chest and the back of his hands.
Forensic tests by experts at Viet Duc Hospital, identified the cause of death as respiratory decline.
The autopsy report suggested that the cops had broken three of his ribs.