Vietnam’s top prosecutors have pressed criminal charges against two police officers who led a murder investigation during which innocent men were tortured into giving false confessions.
Nguyen Hoang Quan, 38, and Trieu Tuan Hung, 34, chief investigators in the southern province of Soc Trang were charged with using corporal punishments.
Investigation so far confirmed that Soc Trang police had wrongfully detained six men after the death of a local.
The men became suspects because they had quarreled with the victim days before he was found dead on the road in June 2013, with multiple stab wounds.
Police only released them in February 2014 after a teenager showed up in December 2013 and confessed that she and her girlfriend had robbed and killed the man.
After their release, the men filed complaints saying that their confessions to the killing were coerced.
Hung reportedly handcuffed two of the men to a high window so that only the tips of their toes touched the ground. He then punched their bellies and hit them with a baton.
He also put ice on the genitals of one of the suspects.
Officer Quan attacked another by grasping his hair, smashed his head into the wall, slapped his face and beat his back with a baton.
Pham Van Nui, a 57-year-old Soc Trang prosecutor who approved the arrest of the six men, received negligence charges.
Prosecutors said Nui had approved the detention without strong evidence.
He should have met with them after they claimed innocent at the beginning, the prosecutors said.
Soc Trang’s prosecution unit in January paid out nearly VND500 million (US$23,435) to compensate for wrongful accusations.
As for the teenager, a Soc Trang court last August sentenced one of them to 12 years in jail, Vietnam’s maximum punishment for a murder committed by a person under 16 years old. She was then 14.
Her girlfriend, then 13, avoided criminal charges for committing the crime before reaching the age of 14 and was sent to a correctional facility.