An 80-year-old man in Bac Ninh Province in northern Vietnam has been cleared of a wrongful murder sentence he was given more than 40 years ago.
The Supreme People’s Court Tuesday said that Tran Van Them, who was sentenced to death in 1973, is innocent.
“We’ve decided that Them was wrongly charged and sent to jail,” senior judge Bui Van Hoa said.
Them would get a public apology and compensation soon, he said.
In July 1970 Them and his cousin traveled to nearby Vinh Phuc Province on a business trip when the latter was found dead with head injuries in a vacant tent along the road where they had stopped for the night.
Them said they had been robbed, but local authorities insisted he was the prime suspect and detained him.
They convicted him of murder in 1973 and the Supreme Court upheld the conviction a year later.
But in 1975 a teenage boy from Vinh Phuc, who had been staying at an education camp, owned up to the killing, and the Supreme Court ordered a fresh investigation and Them’s release.
Them has, over the years, filed multiple pleas to clear his name, but it has taken until now, when he is very weak and can only walk with assistance, for his vindication.
His neighbors said he has been very poor and struggling to even find enough food to eat. His wife died early after working hard to raise six children on her own during the nearly six years that he was in jail.
Them said he did not want to recall the difficulties of the past.
“My only wish is that the authorities proclaim loudly to my neighbors that I was wrongly charged so that I do not have to carry the shame of killing my cousin any longer,” Tuoi Tre quoted him as saying.