Vietnam News

Vietnam upholds farmers’ death penalty over land clash

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Three police were killed during a bloody confrontation between authorities and farmers defending their land rights

A court in Hanoi has rejected the appeals of two brothers sentenced to death for their part in a bloody confrontation with police over land rights.

The violent clash occurred in January 2020 at Dong Tam Commune, a small rice-farming community next to Mieu Mon military air base, when authorities tried to build a wall that the villagers said encroached on their land.

After a two-day hearing, the People’s High Court on March 9 upheld the death sentences of brothers Le Dinh Cong and Le Dinh Chuc for their roles in the killings of three police officers.

The court also refused to reduce the heavy jail sentences of four other defendants, including Le Dinh Doanh, Cong’s 33-year-old son, who had been given a life sentence.

Bui Viet Hieu, 78, and Nguyen Quoc Tien, 41, were sentenced to 16 and 13 years in jail respectively for murder. Bui Thi Noi, 63, received a six-year sentence for fighting against personnel on duty.

State-run VnExpress news site reported that the judge said the defendants ignored the law, showing no respect for the lives of security personnel, when they deliberately used gas to burn the three officers to death. The judge said the sentences imposed by the lower court were well founded.

Last September, a local lower court had convicted the six of helping to mastermind resistance against the police and causing severe consequences in a lethal land clash between tens of farmers and thousands of police at Dong Tam Commune on the outskirts of Hanoi.

Cong, 57, and his brother Chuc, 41, are sons of Le Dinh Kinh, a Communist Party member in his 80s who was shot dead in his bedroom by police during the clash.  

Catholic lawyer Le Quoc Quan, who has closely followed the case, said it was not reasonable that a high-profile criminal case, which affects many people’s lives, was settled within two days.

Quan, a rights activist, said the people are unhappy with a corrupt judiciary governed by an authoritarian regime. The judges act according to secretly planned orders from party leaders, he said.

Union of Catholic Asian News – March 11, 2021

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