Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Hàn Đức Long, 58, sentenced to death on four occasions, on Wednesday demanded a public apology from the courts after he was acquitted of charges of child rape and murder.
The exoneration came after repeated efforts by Long and his wife to prove he did not commit the shocking crimes he was accused of, which took place nearly 12 years ago.
The letter asking for a public apology and admission of wrongdoing was sent to the superior people’s court in Hà Nội (the appellate court responsible for northern region of Việt Nam) and also to Bắc Giang Province People’s Procuracy.
During the period of wrongful imprisonment, Long was stripped of his “honour, dignity and civic rights” and his family was “scorned and held in contempt by the community,” the letter reads.
Based on the existing law which states the right to claim compensation, to restore “stability” in his life, Long requested a public apology from the authorities.
Long was released from prison three months ago and his health has greatly improved.
Previously, at the end of December last year, Bắc Giang Province People’s Procuracy announced the suspension of the child rape and murder case taking place in Phúc Sơn Commune, Tân Yên District, due to “not having enough solid evidence to convict Hàn Đức Long of charges accused.”
The decision by the provincial People’s Procuracy to cancel the detention of Long also mentioned there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the man for first-degree murder, rape and child rape charges, and the death sentence verdicts were subsequently overturned.
Long’s lawyer Ngô Ngọc Trai told the press Long could be entitled to up to VNĐ12-15 billion (US$526,900 – 658,600) in compensation for all the legal fees, as well as the losses he had incurred and suffering he had endured over the last decade.
Trai also said Long would lodge denunciations against a number of judicial officers whom he claimed used torture to extract a forced confession from him. Long also requested the authorities look into the two neighbours who gave testimonies claiming he was guilty.
Nearly 12 years ago, on May 16, 2005, parents of a five-year-old came home to find their daughter was missing. Next morning, her body was found lying on the field. Forensics said she was raped and then drowned.
Following four months of investigation, Bắc Giang police failed to identify the perpetrator so they called on the public to volunteer information.
A letter sent from a household in the same village where Long lived claimed he once raped a mother and her child. The letter also alleged Long had committed the crime in question.
Long was promptly apprehended, and during interrogation, Long gave a written confession admitting guilt, although later he repeatedly maintained it was made under duress.
From 2007 to 2011, through four trials, each time the verdict against him stayed the same -- death sentence. — VNS