Mother of Vietnamese fatally beaten by Czech cops to be compensated

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A court in the Czech Republic has ordered the state to pay one million Czech korunas (US$50,500) to the mother of a Vietnamese man who died in police custody in 2009, the Czech News Agency reported Monday.


The Brno City Court did not rule on whether the state must apologize in writing to the woman, whose name is not known, since a request for an apology was not included in the charges.


Last March, the court ruled that the state must compensate one million korunas to the victim's son, Hoang Son Tuan.


The incident happened on January 4, 2009 when a Czech woman called police complaining that her Vietnamese neighbor was making noise.


Hoang Son Lam, 43, was sitting in an armchair when three police officers arrived. Although he did not resist, he was beaten by police officer Josef Srnsky and the neighbor, Katerina Slavickova.


Lam was then detained in a jail cell.


He complained about health troubles and died the following day. He had suffered broken ribs, a ruptured pancreas and abdominal bleeding.


The police officers tried to shift attention away from them and onto Lam, accusing him of being a suspected drug dealer who had died from the shock of going through drug withdrawal.


In April 2011, Srnsky was sentenced to 10 years in jail; Slavickova was sentenced to eight years.


Policemen Jarmil Simonik and Frantisek Jaros, who were present at the scene but did not do anything to stop the beating, were each given three-year suspended sentences.


Lam's mother had originally demanded 50 million korunas from the state, but since she was primarily seeking moral satisfaction, she changed her mind and demanded a written apology. She said she was willing to lower the compensation.


The court proceeding took place in late February but it was adjourned in favor of a settlement hearing between the Vietnamese woman's lawyer Marek Sedlak and the state, represented by the Interior Ministry.


Interior Minister Jan Kubice sent a letter to Sedlak in which he expressed his personal condolences to the mother.


Judge Pavel Matous said the final amount of compensation was based on the sum given to Lam's son.


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