Debates are still ongoing over whether to separate the management authority that oversees four national remand prisons from investigation agencies in an effort to prevent police torture.
|Tra Vinh Province NA Deputy Nguyen Thi Kha said authority over the four prisons should be removed from the hands of the two investigation agencies and instead assigned to the General Department of Criminal Enforcement and Judicial Assistance, which is also under the MoPS. (Photo: VNA/VNS)|
The restructuring of the remand prison system was the focus of the National Assembly (NA) meeting yesterday morning during discussions on the draft Law on Custody and Temporary Detention.
While the four remand prisons are under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), they are directly managed by the Investigation Police Agency and the Investigation Security Agency. The two agencies have received a bad reputation for allegedly using torture to force confessions, leading to deaths in some cases.
A report by the NA's Standing Committee released in June revealed that there had been 46 complaints about the use of torture to force false confessions from 2011 to 2014. During the same time period, 226 suspects reportedly died in police custody, primarily from sickness or suicide.
Tra Vinh Province NA Deputy Nguyen Thi Kha said authority over the four prisons should be removed from the hands of the two investigation agencies and instead assigned to the General Department of Criminal Enforcement and Judicial Assistance, which is also under the MoPS.
"It (the General Department) will be the only agency to manage the whole prison system across the country, which will make the operation and inspections easier in the future," said Kha.
Soc Trang Province NA Deputy Nguyen Tuyet Lien seconded Kha's suggestion, adding that the separation of the remand prisons from the investigation agencies would secure the independence of their operations and help to prevent the use of police torture.
However, NA deputy Pham Truong Dan from Quang Nam had another idea in mind.
He said that the four remand prisons instead should be transferred to the General Department of Police and the General Department of Security, the upper levels of the two investigation agencies, in order to better serve the investigative operations.
Those remand prisons would be managed by a particular deputy general director of the two departments, who is not in charge of investigative works, said Dan.
"That is still enough to guarantee the independence of the remand prisons to the investigation agencies," he said.