VIETNAM PRESIDENT ORDERS REVIEW OF FARMER'S DEATH SENTENCE
July 18, 2018:
Activists have welcomed the Vietnamese president's order to review the case of farmers given severe sentences including the death penalty for murder over a land dispute. (Sources: ucanews.com, 18/07/2018)
The President's Office announced on July 17 that President Tran Dai Quang had asked the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuracy and the Ministry of Public Security to "review processes of investigations, prosecution and trial of the murder case and report to the president," Vietnam News Agency reported.
On July 12, the High-level People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the death penalty given to Dang Van Hien, a
farmer found guilty of murder amid a land row between farmers and a private company.
Hien was convicted of shooting to death three men and injuring 13 others from the Long Son Trade and Investment Company.
The court had earlier reduced the sentences of farmers Ninh Viet Binh and Ha Van Truong who were also involved in the incident — from 20 to 18 years and from 12 to nine years.
On Oct. 23, 2016, the Long Son Trade and Investment Company is said to have sent scores of workers and watchmen armed with knives, shields and tractors to destroy coffee trees, cashew trees and more crops grown by Hien and other farmers.
Hien claims he fired a warning shot into the air to stop them from entering his farm but the watchmen responded by throwing rocks at him. He said he then hid in his house and fired more shots at his attackers.
Ninh and Binh also shot at the alleged trespassers.
Many activists have hailed the president's order as a success in the fight for justice for those who have their land grabbed unfairly by corrupt officials and interest groups.
An online petition signed by more than 5,000 people asked government leaders to reduce Hien's sentence so as "to ensure the law's justice and the state's humanity and to strengthen our trust in the law."
"Please offer Hien an opportunity to resume a good life," they said.