Vietnam to try five ex-cops for brutal murder

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Nguyen Mau Cong holds a portrait of his father Nguyen Mau Thuan and a picture of his battered thighs after an assault by four former police officers from Hanoi's Kim No Commune. Photo courtesy of Nguoi Lao Dong.
A Hanoi court will try four former police officers from May 8-9 for allegedly beating a prisoner to death during an interrogation in August 2012, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported.
The defendants are Hoang Ngoc Tuyen, former deputy head of the Kim No Commune police in Dong Anh District and his former subordinates Nguyen Trong Kien, Doan Van Tuyen, and Hoang Ngoc Thuc.
According to the indictment, the four former officers could face jail terms of 12-20 years, life imprisonment or death under the Penal Code.
According to the indictment Nguyen Mau Thuan, 54, was summoned to the police station on August 30, 2012 after a quarrel with his neighbors over land.
After spending three hours at the station, his family was informed that Thuan had passed out.
He was rushed to hospital with injuries and doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
Nguyen Mau Cong, his son, who went with him to the police station, said the police had asked him to leave, saying they would send his father home after a few quick questions.
"But they immediately placed my father in handcuffs."
Investigators found that the officers had tied his hands and legs to a chair for allegedly swearing at them.
Then they began to torture him.
The four officers stand accused of beating his thighs with rubber clubs, and squeezed his fingers together after putting pens between them.
Forensic tests discovered that they broke three of his ribs during the interrogation.
Speaking to the media on May 4, Thuan’s relatives said they have told relevant agencies that commune police chief Nguyen Duc Vong was also responsible for Thuan's death.
Vong was the one who ordered his men to arrest Thuan without an arrest decision and he was present at the police station when Thuan was interrogated, they said.
Lawyer Nguyen Kim Dung, who represents the family, said investigators should have investigated and prosecuted Vong.
Over the past several years, local media have reported many cases of fatal police brutality.
Lawyer Nguyen Van Hau, deputy chairman of HCMC Jurists’ Association hailed the prosecution of the four former officers for their brutal crime.
In another recent case, a court in the south-central province of Phu Yen sentenced three local police officers to 18 months, two and five years in jail, respectively; and handed down suspended sentences to two others charged with the use of corporal punishment.
The defendants were found guilty of beating Ngo Thanh Kieu, 32, to death while questioning him about his alleged involvement in a burglary that took place in 2012.
Following the trial, the media reported widespread public discontent with the verdict; numerous newspapers have carried editorials arguing it was too lenient, prompting Phu Yen prosecutors to order on April 29 a fresh probe into the case.

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