Last minute appeal in disputed death penalty case

Manh's mother appeals for his life

Manh’s mother appeals for his life

A group of lawyers have petitioned President Truong Tan Sang for the reprieve of a death row inmate, who was acquitted twice on appeal, but is now scheduled to die on Sunday.

The lawyers said that Le Van Manh appeared to have been a scapegoat in a case in which the proper legal procedures were not followed.

The People’s Court in Thanh Hoa province has given the go ahead for the death sentence, following Manh’s conviction on charges of murder, child rape and robbery.

His original convictions were overturned twice on appeal. However, the death sentence imposed at Manh’s third trial was upheld.

Manh’s mother says that he was tortured into making a confession for the crimes and that he has an alibi that proves he could not have been present at the time of the crime.

He was accused of raping and strangling to death a fifteen-year-old girl by the banks of a river near his home town.

In their letter, the lawyers said the only evidence produced against Manh was his confession. At his trial he had denied involvement in the murder.

They said that courts could not convict on the strength of such a confession alone and that doing so was a violation of clause 2, article 72, of the criminal code.

Manh’s mother has made an emotional appeal on Youtube for his reprieve.

She said that he was arrested without a warrant or summons and was subjected to torture in prison.

She said he was beaten into unconsciousness and suspended by a rope during the interrogation sessions and had no option but to confess.

The lawyers said that they had tried to submit an appeal at the Supreme People’s Court but had received no response from officials there.