Vietnam court rejects police beating death appeal

Posted on July 17, 2012

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Victim’s family holding the poster of Nguyễn Văn Ninh: “A life murdered=4 years in jail?”

HANOI, July 17, 2012 (AFP) – A Vietnamese court Tuesday upheld a four-year jail term for a policeman over the fatal beating of a man in custody, rejecting a plea for a tougher sentence in a case that alarmed rights activists.

Trinh Xuan Tung, 53, died last year after being detained for a minor traffic infraction. He was hit on the neck and left handcuffed despite warning police that paralysis was seizing his body, his family said at the time.

In January, a Hanoi court ruled that one police officer, Nguyen Van Ninh, 54, was solely responsible for the death, sentencing him to four years in prison on charges of causing death while exercising official public duties.

Both sides appealed the verdict but Hanoi’s court of appeals on Tuesday threw out the requests, the victim’s daughter Trinh Kim Tien told AFP.

“Our family completely rejects today’s verdict and we still do not agree with the charge as it’s completely groundless,” said Tien, who has called for murder charges to be pursued against those responsible for her father’s death.

Tung, a street vendor, was detained when as a passenger on a motorbike taxi he removed his helmet to make a mobile phone call, and got involved in a scuffle when the driver refused to pay a fine after being stopped by police.

He was taken to a police station and later died in hospital.

Activists say the case is an example of widespread brutality within the Vietnamese security services, with US-based Human Rights Watch voicing concern about an “alarming” use of violence among police.

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Posted in: Human Rights