Court postpones execution following family’s appeal

The court responded following emotional appeals by Manh's family and supporters.

The court responded following emotional appeals by Manh’s family and supporters.

A court in Vietnam has postponed the execution of a man in a controversial murder case following an emotional appeal from his family members and other supporters.

State media said the court in the north central province of Thanh Hoa would reconsider the case against Le Van Manh after receiving the appeal.

Six lawyers had earlier contested the case, saying that the court had relied entirely on a confession from Manh that was later retracted.

Family members believe that his confession to the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in 2005 was extracted under torture.

His mother, Nguyen Thi Viet, had earlier received notification from the court that the execution would go ahead shortly.

“We have just received the petition from Manh’s family and we will re-consider the case to determine whether Manh has fallen victim to miscarriage of justice or not,” said Phan Quoc Bao, the chief judge of the People’s Court in Thanh Hoa, in comments reported by Tuoi Tre newspaper.

“After re-examining the case file, we will make proposals to law agencies on what steps should be taken to deal with it,” he said.

Manh was acquitted twice on appeal by the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi.

But each time he was prosecuted again on the same charge, and was finally convicted on the third attempt and sentenced to death in 2008.

His supporters have pointed to what they believe are many errors in the conduct of the trials against him.

Manh has consistently maintained his innocence.

His supporters made an appeal for clemency last week to the state president, Truong Tan Sang.