JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Vietnamese octogenarian spends 43 years clearing his name of false murder charge

Monday, August 15, 2016, 18:17 GMT+7

An 80-year-old man from the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh has been unable to find justice after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his cousin over forty years ago.

Tran Van Them, a resident of Yen Phu Commune, Yen Phong District, Bac Ninh, has lived the last 43 years as a convicted murderer after the local judiciary failed to issue any official announcement regarding his innocence following his wrongful conviction.

A delegation from the Supreme People’s Court led by Deputy Chief Judge Bui Ngoc Hoa, along with representatives of several provincial judicial agencies, have visited and encouraged Them as well as looking into his case.

The incident began 46 years ago when Them and his younger cousin, Nguyen Khac Van, went to Tam Duong District in the northern province of Vinh Phuc to sell pipe tobacco.

While the two were resting at a local barber shop at night after finishing their work, they were attacked by a robber.

Them and his cousin both resisted, scared the thief away, and got themselves wounded during the process. Van was stabbed with a metal stick and Them suffered a head injury.  

Them was holding the weapon when local residents came to the place while Van succumbed to his stab wound on his way to the hospital.

Despite his serious head injury, Them was accused of killing his own cousin for money.

During a trial in 1973, the People’s Court in Vinh Phuc sentenced Them to death for Van’s murder, before the decision was overturned by the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi a year later.

By 1975, he had been transferred to a detention camp of the Hanoi Department of Police as another suspect was arrested and admitted responsibility for killing Van and injuring Them.

Them was later released and returned to his family without his name being officially cleared.

“I have been living with the injustice and shame for the past 43 years, being called a killer by my neighbors and even my relatives,” Them said.

Van’s family have also avoided meeting him as they believed that he had bribed officers in order to be set free early.

Them had previously asked his children to take him to Hanoi to seek his justice but he was refused by multiple agencies, for he carried no official documents relating to the case.

Contradictory details

Ever since, Them and his grandson, Tran Van Nam, have been collecting all the necessary paperwork, including the case file and evidence of his imprisonment and wrongful conviction.

They had to request a confirmation from Judge Ta Thi Minh Tam, who led his trial in Vinh Phuc, and the two police officers who were tasked with the investigation.

During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Cu Van Tien, a former official of the Vinh Phuc Department of Police, recalled receiving Them’s case in 1974.

Tien said he discovered several indications of Them’s innocence during the investigation and asked for the excavation of Van’s body for examination.

Results of the exam, along with evidence recorded at the crime scene, revealed that there were several contradictory details in the case, according to Tien.

After Phan Thanh Nhan, 17 at the time, admitted he had been the attacker, Tien and his colleagues concluded that Them was innocent.

“Them was granted his freedom on December 29, 1975 but I am surprised to hear that no announcement regarding his wrongful conviction has ever been issued,” Tien said.

Conclusion to be reached this week

With the help of his lawyer and confirmation from witnesses, Them has requested the judiciary clear his name and demanded compensation, yet has still encountered difficulty.

In 2006, the local judiciary said that the case file had been lost as the incident occurred during the war in the 1970s.

By 2014, Them’s lawyer had managed to retrieve the case document from records at the Bac Ninh Department of Police.

Following Them’s relentless requests, the Supreme People’s Court decided to deal with the incident.

A meeting is expected to be convened this week for officials to reach a conclusion on Them’s case, Deputy Chief Judge Hoa confirmed.

With regard to Nhan, the alleged murderer, Hoa said that he escaped from his cell in 1974 and was later shot dead during another robbery.

More

Read more

Vietnamese student fund debuts, raises $170k for bridge construction

Two Vietnamese students debuted on Wednesday their charity foundation, the first student-established fund to be licensed by the local authorities, and raised over US$170,000 to construct bridges to help students safely cross rivers in Vietnam’s rural areas

7 years ago

Pilot presses wrong button, prompting hijacking scare at Vietnam airport

Anti-terrorism measures were deployed at Noi Bai Airport International Airport in Hanoi on Tuesday evening after the pilot of a plane mistakenly pressed the hijacking code button when asking for permission to make an urgent landing due to a pressure incident on the flight.

6 years ago
;

Photos

VIDEOS

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Latest news

France outlaws sex with children aged under 15

The French parliament on Thursday adopted legislation that characterises sex with a child under the age of 15 as rape and punishable by up to 20 years in jail, bringing its penal code closer in line with many other Western nations