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Vietnamese Family Seeks Answers to Allegations of Police Brutality

FILE - Policemen (center row) keep watch as inmates wait before being released from Hoang Tien prison, about 100 km (62 miles) outside Hanoi.

A family in Vietnam is accusing Hanoi police of brutality after their son was hospitalized in critical condition after two months in detention without a court order.

The family of Do Dang Du told VOA Vietnamese there are bruises and injuries all over Du's body, suggesting he had been brutally tortured by police. Du's family said he is now in coma and hospital officials told them he has suffered from brain damage and there was little chance he will survive.

Do Thi Tuyet, Du's aunt, said there were up to 50 policemen at the hospital and that family members have not been allowed to take care of Du like the families of other patients.

"Once or twice a day, they let us get in the room to see him a little while and then force us to leave right away. A doctor told us all of his internal organs and his brain were damaged," she said.

Activists and bloggers have frequently accused Vietnamese police of torturing those in their custody with impunity.

Rights activist Truong Van Dung who came to visit Du today said policemen also prevented him from entering the hospital.

"There have been lots of victims beaten to death while in police custody. The people now can no longer trust the government. Every one of us should speak up to expose their crimes. We need to call on all international rights groups for effective measures on Hanoi to help stop their brutality against the people," he said.

Police in Hanoi have not responded to VOA's request for a comment on Du and the allegations of brutality.

But last year, Hanoi denied a report by Human Rights Watch that accused the country of increasing cases of police brutality. The government said it has a "firm commitment" against all forms of torture or cruel treatments, adding that those who engage in abuse will be strictly punished in accordance with Vietnamese laws.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.