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Man dies after alleged corporal punishment by police in Vietnam

Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 12:20 GMT+7

Five police officers in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan have been suspended over links to the death of a drug suspect who died under their watch at a local jailhouse.

Colonel Pham Huyen Ngoc, police chief of Ninh Thuan, made the announcement on Tuesday evening.

According to Ngoc, the officers were under investigation by the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam for their alleged use of corporal punishment that led to the death of Vo Tan Minh.

Minh, 25, had been investigated by Ninh Thuan police on charges of dealing drugs, and had recently been transferred to a detention center in the province’s Phan Rang – Thap Cham City.

At around 3:00 pm on September 8, Minh became involved a fight with one of his cellmates after the other man initiated an attack, confirmed by security camera footage.

Four corrections officers could be seen entering the cell shortly after and escorting Minh into another room.

Minh was later rushed to the General Hospital of Ninh Thuan Province, where he was pronounced dead at 5:00 pm on the same day.

Bruises are seen on Vo Tan Minh’s body. Courtesy of Minh’s family
Bruises are seen on Vo Tan Minh’s body. Courtesy of Minh’s family

Large bruises were evident on his arms, legs, back and on the nape of the man’s body, according to photos taken by Minh’s family after they retrieved his corpse from the hospital.

The officers initially denied any responsibility, claiming they had taken Minh to hospital after he was found unconscious in his cell.

Nevertheless, scene investigation and an autopsy revealed evidence of the use of corporal punishment by the officers, the investigative unit of the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam concluded on Tuesday.

It prosecuted the criminal case the same day, citing Article 298 of the country’s Penal Code.

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