A judge from Vietnam's highest court on Friday publicly apologized to a man it wrongfully sentenced to life for murder, more than a year after his name was cleared.
Ngo Hong Phuc, deputy chief judge of the Supreme People’s Court, read the official apology at a commune government office in Bac Giang Province in front of Nguyen Thanh Chan, his family and many locals.
Chan, 54, had demanded an apology and a compensation of VND10 billion (US $471,000) from the court for having to serve ten years in prison for the wrongful conviction.
But no money has been paid out yet. Phuc said the court is still negotiating with Chan.
He said that the court will also publish the apology in three consecutive issues of its newspaper, Cong Ly, and the local Bac Giang Newspaper.
A trial in the northern province in March 2004 found Chan guilty of murdering a local woman and sentenced him to life in prison.
The supreme court rejected his appeal and upheld the sentence four months later.
His wife started her own investigation, prompting a local man to turn himself in and confess to the murder in October 2013.
Chan was released in November that year and the supreme court officially exonerated him in January 2014.
His wife developed psychological problems during the decade she spent fighting on her husband’s behalf.
He said her preoccupation with the case kept her from taking care for his elderly mother and their four children. Three of them 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 to kill him and forced him to plead guilty.
Police have yet to launch an investigation into those claims.