Family of executed Vietnamese man receives his final letter

Le Van Manh was executed last month despite protesting his innocence.


RFA | 2023.10.25

The family of a man executed in Vietnam in spite of his claims of innocence told Radio Free Asia this week they would continue to fight to clear his name, honoring a request in his final letter to them.

Le Van Manh, 41, was sentenced to death for the alleged rape and murder of a female student in his village in Thanh Hoa province in 2005. 

He was convicted even though he continuously pleaded his innocence and said he had been tortured into confessing.

During the trial lawyers requested an examination of the defendant's body to determine whether he had been tortured, but the court refused.

Manh was injected with poison on Sept. 22 at a Public Security Ministry execution facility in Hoa Binh province. His body was buried in a cemetery in his home province.

After more than a month, his family went to the Temporary Detention Center managed by Thanh Hoa province’s Police Department to request his letters and recordings of his final words.

His mother Nguyen Thi Viet told RFA Vietnamese on Tuesday they only received one letter and a muffled recording lasting 18 seconds.

“My son will continue to go there and ask for another recording,” she said. 

“The recording must definitely have something my son said in it, so my family has to go down and ask for it.

“My son said in his last letter: ‘I am not afraid of being executed. I am not ashamed because I am innocent.

“I was wrongly convicted. After my death, my parents will continue to seek justice for me. If mother and father become too old for that, then let my younger siblings and children continue to do it for me until justice is returned to me.”

Viet said her son had asked them not to receive his remains or organize his funeral until they had received justice for him.

Two other death row inmates, Ho Duy Hai and Nguyen Van Chuong, have claimed for many years to be unjustly convicted. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, along with many countries and international human rights organizations have called on Vietnam to abolish the death penalty and investigate allegations of torture and forced confessions.

Ho Duy Hai was convicted of killing two sisters working at Cau Voi Post Office, Long An province in 2008. Nguyen Van Chuong was accused of killing a police officer in Hai Phong in 2007. Both were convicted in spite of alibis and claims of torture.

In early August, Nguyen Van Chuong's family received notice from the Hai Phong City Court to register to receive the body for burial. His family has sent a petition to many central Vietnamese agencies to stop the execution and reinvestigate the case. Hai Phong authorities have not yet carried out the execution.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.



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