Sunday, October 05, 2014
Nguyen Thanh Chan, 54, cried during his reunion with his family last October after serving more than ten years for a crime he did not commit. Photo: Ha An
A retired Supreme People’s Court judge in Bac Giang Province has been placed under house arrest while police investigate him for having sentenced a man to life in a prison for a murder he did not commit.
Pham Tuan Chiem is now officially under investigation for the crime of gross negligence, according to the highest prosecutorial office in the country.
The 65-year-old resident of Hanoi’s Gia Lam District was placed under house arrest on Tuesday.
Chiem presided over the trial of Nguyen Thanh Chan on July 27, 2004, which upheld a life sentenced imposed on the rural farmer who was then a resident of Viet Trung Commune, Viet Yen District, Bac Giang Province.
Chan had been convicted of murdering and robbing a local woman.
He was released on November 4, 2013, after spending over ten years in prison.
Chan, now 53, told local media that he had been tortured during the course of the police investigation and was forced to confess to the crime.
Prosecutors say Chiem's failure to review the relevant documents and repeated violations of judicial procedure led to Chan's conviction.
In addition to Chiem, police are investigating Dang The Vinh, formerly of the Bac Giang Prosecutor's Office and Tran Nhat Duat, a former officer with the Viet Yen District police.
Chan’s wrongful conviction only came to light after his wife, Nguyen Thi Chien, spent years investigating the murder.
Her efforts led to the arrest of 26-year-old Ly Nguyen Chung, who moved to the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak in 2004.
Chan's wife allegedly learned of Chung's guilt after his step-mother mentioned it during a dispute with his birth mother.
Ly Nguyen Chung appeared at the Bac Giang People's Court on September 29, 2014. The court later suspended proceedings against Chung following a request from the victim's mother and her son. Photo: Ha An
On September 29, 2014 the Bac Giang People’s Court suspended proceedings against Chung following a request from the victim's mother, Nguyen Thi Hoi, and her son Nguyen Xuan Tien.
Hoi has demanded that the defendant support the deceased's 12-year-old child Nguyen Van Duc until he reaches the age of 18.
During the trial, the family's attorney, Giap Van Diep, requested retroactive support for the victim's other child -- who is now 24 -- for the period when he was under 18.
As Chung was escorted out of the court room, a number of spectators managed to slap him in the face. - Thanhnien News, 1/10/2014, Retired judge arrested in Vietnam’s notorious wrongful conviction
Nguyen Thanh Chan (C) of Bac Giang Province receives a decision canceling his life sentence for murder in November 2013l. Chan's wife's investigation forced the real murderer to turn himself in. Photo by Thai Son
Vietnam's supreme court ordered the arrest of a prosecutor and a senior police officer on Friday for their roles in sentencing an innocent man to life in prison for murder.
Dang The Vinh of Bac Giang Province's Prosecutorial Office, and Tran Nhat Luat, deputy chief officer of
Viet Yen District police, were placed under arrest pending an investigation into charges of “deliberate falsification of trial documents.”
Nguyen Thanh Chan was found guilty of murdering a local woman and was sentenced to life in prison in March of 2004.
Four months later, the supreme court dismissed his appeal and upheld the sentence.
His wife’s investigation forced the real murderer, another local man, to give himself up last October.
Chan was released last November and the Supreme Court officially cleared his name in January.
Last month, his lawyer filed a petition and related documents to the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi demanding compensation and a public apology.
The lawyer revealed no specific figure but hinted that the state might owe him more than US$1 million.
He also demanded thousands of additional dollars for damages to his prestige and dignity, as well as the trauma caused to his family.
His wife developed psychological problems during the ten years she spent fighting on his behalf. In his petition, Chan blamed her preoccupation with the case on her failure to care for his elderly mother and four children. Three of their children 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 him with death to force him to plead guilty.
Police have yet to launch an investigation into those claims. - Thanhnien News, 9/5/2014,Vietnam arrests prosecutor, cop for wrongful life sentence