A group of five policemen who allegedly beat a detainee to death in Ninh Thuan, Vietnam, went on trial on Sept. 13. Attorney Vo An Don told Radio Free Asia the victim, Vo Tan Minh, was killed after being transferred from police custody in Thuan Bac district to a Phan Rang-Thap Cham city detention center.
Minh was allegedly attacked by five men after entering a cell at the detention center.
Don said the man was reportedly slapped in the face and kicked in the chest, abdomen and other areas on his body. His legs were cuffed to a table as he was beaten with a wooden bar wrapped in plastic. Minh died after the assault on Sept. 8, 2017.
According to state-operated media reports, he died in a hospital after being found beaten up in his cell.
The director of the provincial police department of Ninh Thuan announced that the five officers had been suspended on Sept. 19 last year and the deputy director told the press last November that the perpetrators had been charged with “torture.”
Cases of police brutality have been described as systemic by human rights groups. The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security said 226 inmates and detainees had died in custody from October 2011 to September 2014.
Last month, a restaurant owner who was detained for almost two weeks died in police custody. An initial statement from the police suggested he died from a stomach ache, but an autopsy conducted by military doctors requested by the victim’s family uncovered significant signs of trauma and internal bleeding.