Officials guilty of wrongful convictions should be strictly punished
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | March 09, 2016 04:54 PM
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Officials that wrongfully convict innocent people should be strictly punished.

Two cases involving Nguyen Thanh Chan in Bac Giang Province who was falsely imprisoned for 10 years and Huynh Van Nen in Binh Thuan Province who spent 18 years in jail are a stain on the country’s criminal justice system.


Huynh Van Nen

The two men were both convicted for murder and given life sentences. Chan was freed in 2013 when another man confessed to the crime and Nen was later released in 2014 after the Binh Thuan Provincial Supreme People's Procuracy also found another man was the real killer.

Chan received VND7.2bn (USD342,850) in compensation but Nen has so far only received an apology from the court and police officials, pending a ruling on the level of compensation.

 A representative of Binh Thuan Police made a public apology to Huynh Van Nen at a meeting held on December 3, 2015.

The prosecutor and a senior police officer in Bac Giang Province have been prosecuted on charges of falsifying trial documents in Chan case.

However the slow pace of compensation for Nen and the lax nature of the punishment for officials involved in such a serious case have surprised the public.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Law Newspaper, the Binh Thuan Province's People's Court has only held a meeting to reprimand the two judges and two people's jurors of the Supreme people's Court who were involved in the convictions. The punishment raised at the meeting for the four officials has been sent to the Supreme People's Court for approval.

However, this is a serious case in which an innocent man was falsely imprisoned for 18 years, while nine of his relatives were also falsely imprisoned for nearly two years; a case in which a huge amount of public money will be paid out in compensation to the freed prisoner, yet a situation where the officials are reprimanded despite the serious nature of their wrongdoings.

This is ridiculous!

Maybe the Supreme People's Court will not agree with the proposed punishment for the four officials in Nen's case. But if they agree, more wrongful convictions will surely continue to be made.

Those who sentenced these innocent men should at least receive the same punishment as given to officials in Chan's case.

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