Hanoi cops let off without charges after suspect dies in custody

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Vietnam's top prosecutors on Saturday decided not to press charges against six police officers for the death of man during detention for administrative violations.


The prosecutors said the police officers should be punished by their own unit, the Hai Ba Trung District Police, and made an example for other police officers to learn from.


According to the indictment, the police officers in January last year arrested 33-year-old Nguyen Quoc Bao after finding "simple" weapons on his motorbike. They suspected him of involvement in illegal lottery and football gambling.


It said Bao had tried to trouble the police during interrogation and hit his own head on the table in front of him and a blackboard behind him, so the police had to cuff his hands and feet.


The man started to have difficulty breathing and began frothing at the mouth at midnight.


Five hours later, his condition got worse and he continued to bang his head on things, so the police took him to a hospital but he died on the way.


Forensic tests found that the man died due to major brain trauma.


The family of the victim lodged requests with different agencies for an investigation because they believed that Bao had been beaten to death by the police officers.


A report on news website VnExpress in late April said that Vietnam's Supreme Procuracy, the country's top prosecution unit, had told Hanoi police there were signs corporal punishment had been administered.


But the unit's final conclusion said there was not enough evidence to file torture charges. It was decided that the police officers only violated custody regulations in cuffing the victim.


Under Vietnam's Penal Code, using corporal punishment during investigation is subject to six months to three years in jail, and between two years to 12 years if the usage causes serious consequences.


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