Vietnam president urges reparation for victim for miscarriage of justice

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Nguyen Thanh Chan (in white) is mobbed by his neighbors as he was brought home Monday after serving 10 years of a wrongful life sentence for murder. Photo by Ha An

President Truong Tan Sang has called on prosecutors and the justice system to quickly compensate and clear the name of a man freed Monday after serving 10 years of a wrongful life sentence.

In a statement he ordered the Minister of Public Security, the head of the Supreme People's Procuracy, and the presiding judge of the Supreme People's Court demanded punishment for those responsible for the wrongful conviction of Nguyen Thanh Chan, who is from the northern province of Bac Giang.

A trial was held Wednesday to decide if the 52-year-old was wrongfully convicted or coerced by investigators in 2003, and how he should be compensated. It was held in camera.

News website VnExpress quoted Chan as saying that several police officers took turns to beat him and threatened to kill him until he admitted to being guilty.

He retracted his confession in court in 2004 and filed an appeal against the life sentence, but it was rejected by the Supreme People's Court.

One of the officers has since died in an accident while others are senior officers in districts, he said.

Chan was released Monday after his wife, who had been filing one petition after another in the last decade, in August provided evidence that another local man was to blame for the killing of local woman Nguyen Thi Hoan, the crime pinned on Chan. 

Ly Van Chung, 25, gave himself up last month after disappearing from the village for a decade.

Chung's father Ly Van Chuc has also been arrested for allegedly threatening to kill some people to stop them from bringing his son to court.

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Nguyen Thi Yen of the top prosecutor's office said Chan and his family should have sent their petitions to the Supreme People's Court or the Supreme People's Procuracy.

Instead, the petitions had gone around and only reached her recently.

"Then it took us only one week to rescind the sentence."

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