Man cleared of murder charge after 10 years in jail

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Nguyen Thanh Chan (front row) and his family sit to hear a decision that cleared his name of a murder charge in Bac Giang Province January 25. He was released on November sitting ten years in jail for a life sentence. Photo by Ha An

A man from the northern province of Bac Giang was announced not guilty Saturday after serving ten years in jail on a wrongful murder charge.

The announcement from the Ministry of Public Security and the Surpreme People’s Court said investigations had confirmed that Nguyen Thanh Chan did not murder his neighbor Nguyen Thi Hoan, officially clearing Chan’s name after he was released from a life sentence in early November.

Chan was released after investigations by his wife Nguyen Thi Chien forced another man to confess to the crime and the supreme court ordered fresh investigations.

The woman had spent most of her time since Chan was sentenced petitioning for the release of her husband and collecting evidence to clear his name.

She heard the relatives of Ly Nguyen Chung, a 25-year-old local, talk about Chung in relation to the murder.

She secretly recorded their conversation and pieced the story together. She then filed a petition to accuse Chung in August.

Her evidence forced authorities to summon Chung, who turned up two months later after switching phone numbers and whereabouts, including a jaunt to China.

Chung had left the village soon after the murder and lived thousands of kilometers away in the Central Highlands.


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Chan also filed many petitions to his wardens. He told local media upon release that police officers had threatened him with weapons to force him to confess.

No order has been issued for Chan to receive compensation or for investigations into the alleged abuse.

Chan's children said him going to jail turned their life upside down. Besides public hostility, they were also derived of care as the mother was too busy fighting for justice and could only send three of them to finish ninth grade and the other to high school.

The woman developed mental illness during the process and had to go to the National Psychiatric Hospital in Hanoi several times, neighbors said.

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