|Trần Văn Thêm and his relative.—Photo baotintuc.vn|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Trần Văn Thêm, an 80-year-old man from Bắc Ninh Province who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1973, got a public apology from central judicial bodies today.
A meeting to announce the public apology took place earlier this morning in Thêm’s hometown in Yên Phong District, Bắc Ninh Province.
At the meeting, deputy chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court of Việt Nam Trần Văn Tuân read the official decision to apologize to Thêm, according to which he said the case was a lesson for judicial bodies during the judicial proceedings.
“The wrongful conviction has caused harm to Thêm and his family,” Tuân said.
Them and his younger cousin, Nguyễn Khắc Văn, had reportedly gone to Tam Dươg District in the northern Vĩnh Phúc Province to sell pipe tobacco one day in 1973. While resting at a local barber’s shop at night after finishing their work, they were attacked by a robber.
Văn was stabbed with a metal stick and Thêm suffered a head injury. Thêm later said in court that they had been robbed, but local authorities insisted he was the prime suspect, and detained him.
Thêm was accused of killing his cousin for money. In 1975, a man confessed to the murder in Thêm’s case. Thêm was freed and yet the local judiciary failed to make any official announcement regarding his innocence, following his wrongful conviction.
Since then, Thêm and his relatives have been knocking on many doors to ask for declaration of his innocence. In 2014, Nguyễn Văn Hòa, Thêm’s authorised representative, and his lawyer managed to submit a letter to the People’s Supreme Court about the case.—VNS