Vietnam arrests prosecutor, cop for wrongful life sentence

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Thanh Chan (C) of Bac Giang Province receives a decision canceling his life sentence for murder in November 2013l. Chan's wife's investigation forced the real murderer to turn himself in. Photo by Thai Son

Vietnam's supreme court ordered the arrest of a prosecutor and a senior police officer on Friday for their roles in sentencing an innocent man to life in prison for murder.
Dang The Vinh of Bac Giang Province's Prosecutorial Office, and Tran Nhat Luat, deputy chief officer of Viet Yen District police, were placed under arrest pending an investigation into charges of “deliberate falsification of trial documents.”
Nguyen Thanh Chan was found guilty of murdering a local woman and was sentenced to life in prison in March of 2004.
Four months later, the supreme court dismissed his appeal and upheld the sentence.
His wife’s investigation forced the real murderer, another local man, to give himself up last October.
Chan was released last November and the Supreme Court officially cleared his name in January.
Last month, his lawyer filed a petition and related documents to the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi demanding compensation and a public apology.
The lawyer revealed no specific figure but hinted that the state might owe him more than US$1 million.
He also demanded thousands of additional dollars for damages to his prestige and dignity, as well as the trauma caused to his family.
His wife developed psychological problems during the ten years she spent fighting on his behalf. In his petition, Chan blamed her preoccupation with the case on her failure to care for his elderly mother and four children. Three of their children left school after finishing the ninth grade and have missed the opportunity to earn a proper living.
Chan has also sent complaints to different government agencies claiming that police officers threatened him with death to force him to plead guilty.
Police have yet to launch an investigation into those claims.

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