Highest court asked to reconsider verdict for burned journalist's wife

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The National Assembly's Legal Committee has asked the country's highest court to reconsider the "burned journalist" case, in which a woman was sentenced to life in jail last year for killing her reporter husband in 2011.


In March last year, a court in the Mekong Delta province of Long An sentenced Tran Thuy Lieu, 42, to life in prison for killing Le Hoang Hung, a journalist with Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper.


Three months later, the Supreme People's Court rejected Lieu's appeal and upheld the life sentence.


According to prosecutors, Lieu set Hung on fire as he slept at their house in Tan An Town, Long An Province on January 19, 2011. She rushed him to the hospital soon after, but he died 10 days later from severe burns.


The Long An People's Court said Lieu killed Hung for "vile motives," after frequent quarrels over her gambling debts.


Lieu insisted she did not intentionally kill Hung. She told the court her husband beat her in fits of jealousy because of her affair with former provincial official Nguyen Van Tam. She also told the court that she had acted alone.


At the first trial, Tam, former chief of the provincial Market Management Team No. 5, admitted to the court that he did in fact have an extramarital affair with Lieu.


In the appeal trial, the Supreme People's Court also concluded that Lieu did not have an accomplice.


Hung's family and his employers have repeatedly asserted that Lieu could not have acted alone and asked that the police look into the role Tam may have played. According to Hung's family, their lawyer and his employers, Tam had advised Lieu on how to mislead investigators.


After the two trials, Hung's mother Nguyen Thi Kim Nga repeatedly lodged complaints to the supreme court and prosecution agency asking them to reconsider the case.


Nga said both trials failed to clarify Lieu's motive.


She said the police need to clarify the purpose of the hundreds of phone calls and text messages between Lieu and Tam before and after the murder.  


According to Nga, there is some evidence at the crime scene to prove that Lieu had an accomplice, but the local police ignored it.


Based on Nga's complaint, the National Assembly's Legal Committee asked the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuracy to reconsider the case.


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