A provincial court on Thursday found Nguyen Van Sang, Tran Duc Lam, Nguyen Pham Viet Ha, Vu Ngoc Truong and Ho Ba Dong guilty of inflicting “corporal punishment.”
The five men had already been dismissed from service after prisoner Vo Tan Minh, 25, died at their hands in a jail in the province’s Phan Rang-Thap Cham Town.
Minh had been arrested in Thuan Bac District in April last year for trading in drugs. Five months later, he was transferred to the prison in Phan Rang-Thap Cham, where he allegedly got into a fight with other inmates.
As officers Sang and Truong questioned Minh about the cause of the fight, they slapped him repeatedly for denying his guilt. The three other officers later entered the interrogation room and beat Minh with plastic tubes for showing disrespect, the indictment said.
The five officers then handcuffed Minh and hung him on a window and beat him again.
The badly injured prisoner died on the way to hospital. Doctors concluded that he died of multiple injuries and respiratory distress.
The court said that the five officers had seriously violated the law and their actions had not only harmed the reputation of the public security sector, but also triggered public outrage.
However, the judges also felt that the policemen were provoked by the non-cooperative attitude of the victim. Since they have a good professional record, they are entitled to leniency under the law, the court ruled.
Inflicting corporal punishment is a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment in Vietnam.
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