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Land dispute farmers jailed for five years

Update: April, 06/2013 - 10:03
The accused listen as their sentences are announced by the jury of the Hai Phong People's Court. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tan

HA NOI (VNS)— Farmers who were charged with attempting to assault and murder on-duty officials involved in a coercive land seizure in Hai Phong's Tien Lang District last year were given jail terms of up to five years.

Doan Van Vuon and Doan Van Quy were sentenced to five years in prison each. Doan Van Sinh was sentenced to three years and six months, and Doan Van Ve received two years.

Pham Thi Bau and Nguyen Thi Thuong received 18-month and 15-month suspended sentences respectively.

It was recounted at the trial that on October 4, 1993, the Tien Lang District People's Committee allocated 21 hectares of coastal swampland to Vuon for developing aquaculture for 14 years.

Vuon then encroached on another 19.3ha of submerged forest on his own initiative, which resulted in a fine from the district's administration and the right to continue cultivating on the encroached land until October 4, 2007.

On April 7, 2009, the Tien Lang District People's Committee issued Decision 461/QD-UBND to take back the land citing the expiry of its use.

Disagreeing with this decision, Vuon brought the case to court, which upheld Decision 461.

On November 24, 2011, the Tien Lang District People's Committee issued Decision No. 3307/QD-UBND to implement Decision 461. Together with relevant agencies, Tien Lang's authorities informed and explained their decision to Vuon.

Instead of observing the decision, Vuon, Quy, Sinh, Ve, Doan Van Thoai and Pham Thai planned attacks on officials on-duty by erecting defence fences, planting home-made mines in the plot of land. And on January 5, 2012 they actually fired home-made guns at officials executing the decision, injuring seven of them.

Thuong and Bau were found to be directly involved in activities to help the accused to launch attacks on law enforcement officials.

The jury described the defendants' offences as extremely dangerous, risking the lives and health of others and seriously upsetting local order and security.

The jury, however, noted that their crimes were related to land management and use, which has been complicated with some weaknesses and shortcomings on the side of the local authorities. Therefore, the final verdict also showed the Party and State's lenient policy towards those farmers.

For local officials accused of "destroying citizens' property, showing irresponsibility and causing serious consequences" in this case, the Hai Phong City People's Court will open another trial next Monday. — VNS


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