Trần Văn Thêm, who was wrongly convicted for murder in 1973, seen at a public apology in 2016. — Photo thanhnien.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Supreme People’s Court of Việt Nam on Wednesday awarded VNĐ6.7 billion (US$290,000) in compensation to 83-year-old Trần Văn Thêm, who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1973.
The compensation was approved by Ministry of Justice’s State Compensation Department late 2017, but the disbursement has finally been paid.
According to conviction made by northern Vĩnh Phú Province People’s Court in 1973, Thêm, from the northern province of Bắc Ninh, was charged for killing his cousin Nguyễn Khắc Văn.
On the night of July 24, 1970, Thêm and Văn were attacked by two robbers while they were staying in a hut near Diện Bridge in Đồng Tĩnh Commune, Tam Dương District, Vĩnh Phú Province (now Vĩnh Phúc Province). Văn sustained a serious head injury after being struck and died. Thêm was also injured but he was accused of killing Văn and handed a death sentence.
At an appeal in 1974, the Supreme People’s Court upheld the charge and the penalty for Thêm. But in 1975, Phan Thanh Nhàn – a prisoner who was jailed in Lào Cai Province – admitted that he had been the one who killed Văn and injured Thêm.
On December 27, 1975, Thêm was released from prison because of his head injury without any mention of re-investigating his case.
Since then, Thêm had repeatedly sent appeals to high-level agencies. In 2015, the Supreme People’s Court received his appeal. In August, 2016, the central procuracy made a public apology to Thêm and terminated the wrongful conviction.
Thêm asked for compensation of VNĐ12 billion but the payout was reduced to VNĐ6.7 billion after negotiations. — VNS