Mother and children receive compensation for wrongful imprisonment

August, 23/2022 - 15:45
Three people in northern Cao Bằng Province who were wrongly detained for a murder 34 years ago have been set compensation totalling VNĐ 5 billion (US$213,400) by the local legal authority.
Nguyễn Thị May (pictured) was wrongfully detained for a murder 34 years ago. Photo: nld.com.vn

CAO BẰNG — Three people in the northern province of Cao Bằng wrongly detained for a murder 34 years ago have been set compensation totalling VNĐ5 billion (US$213,400) by the local legal authority.

According to the People’s Court of Cao Bằng Province, the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1 has agreed to pay the money for the unjust incarceration of Nguyễn Thị May, 85, and her two children, all residing in Cao Bằng City.

The three individually spent between two and 22 months in jail and have been fighting to clear their names for over 30 years.

The settlement is to compensate for the family’s emotional trauma, loss in income, attorney expenses, and travel expenses to voice their protest over the past 34 years.

May will be paid VNĐ1.5 billion, Trần Ngọc Hùng (May’s son) will receive VNĐ2 billion, and Trần Thị Nga (May’s daughter) VNĐ1.5 billion.

According to the case files, on the evening of February 7, 1988, Lieutenant Lê Danh Tân from the Cao Bằng Province Military Command, during his paid leave, asked to stay the night at May’s house. At around 4am the next day, Lieutenant Tân was found dead in a pit.

In March 1988, the Military Procuracy of Cao Bằng Province (now the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1) prosecuted Trần Ngọc Hùng for murder. Two months later, May and her daughter Trần Thị Nga were also prosecuted.

In March 1991, the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1 suspended the prosecution against May and her children due to a lack of evidence.

May was released after five months of wrongful detainment, Hùng after 22 months, and Nga after two months.

However, May did not receive any documents from the authority confirming her and her family’s innocence, so she sent petitions everywhere voicing their protest and asking for compensation.

In May 2020, the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1 refuted the application, citing a lack of basis for the requested compensation. May protested, but the agency maintained its stance.

In October 2021, May and her children decided to sue the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1, requesting that the People’s Court of Cao Bằng province order the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1 to apologise publicly and adequately compensate their family. May initially asked for a sum of VNĐ15 billion, adjusted to VNĐ10 billion afterwards.

After a meeting organised by the court, the two parties agreed to the reimbursement compensation terms and final sum.

The Military Procuracy of Military Region 1 said the compensation would be paid immediately after securing funding.

Regarding the family’s request for restoration of their honour, the Military Procuracy of Military Region 1 will issue a public apology and rectification notice in Cao Bằng newspaper and will reissue the document on suspension of the detainment of Nga and her children. — VNS

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