A court of appeal yesterday decided to reduce the sentences of nine defendants involved in land violations in Đồng Tâm Commune in Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đức District last year.– VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp
HÀ NỘI – A court of appeal yesterday decided to reduce the sentences of nine defendants involved in land violations in Đồng Tâm Commune in Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đức District last year.
The Hà Nội People’s Court ruled in favour of the nine defendants who had appealed for reduced penalties. However, the court rejected the appeal of Phạm Hữu Sách, former head of the district’s Division of Natural Resources and Environment, who will still have to serve 24 months of probation.
The violations made by the officials were uncovered following complaints by residents about a land scandal which made headlines in late March and mid-April, 2017.
Ten former local officials faced charges of abusing their positions and power pursuant to Article 281 of the Penal Code.
Those charged with “abuse of power while on duty” were entitled to reduced sentences, including Lê Đình Thuần, former chairman of Đồng Tâm Commune’s People’s Committee, whose sentence was cut from 42 months to 36 months in prison; and Nguyễn Tiến Triển, former secretary of Đồng Tâm Commune’s Party Committee, whose sentence was cut from 30 months to 26 months in prison.
Nguyễn Văn Đức, former chairman of Đồng Tâm Commune’s People’s Committee; Bùi Văn Hồng, formerly in charge of military affairs for Đồng Tâm Commune’s People’s Committee; and Bùi Văn Dũng, former head of Đồng Tâm Commune’s Financial Division, had their sentences cut from 30 months to 24 months.
Nguyễn Văn Minh, former head of Đồng Tâm Commune’s Police; and Nguyễn Văn Khang, former head of Đồng Tâm Commune’s budget, will serve suspended sentences of 20 months instead of 24 months.
Regarding the charges of “irresponsibility causing serious consequence”, the initial sentence of 36 months behind bars for Đinh Văn Dũng, former director of Mỹ Đức District’s Land Registration Office, was changed to 36 months of probation, while Bạch Văn Đông, former deputy director of Mỹ Đức District’s Land Registration Office, also had his sentence commuted from 30 months in jail to a 30-month suspended sentence.
The appeal panel stated that at their first trial all the defendants had confessed to their offences apart from Sách, who said he had signed a document regarding land use but it was not unlawful, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The panel judged that Sách’s appeal was groundless and upheld his initial 24-month suspended sentence. While on duty, Sách had failed to properly check dossiers regarding land use before signing them, resulting in the unlawful granting of land use right certificates to 12 households in the locality with total land covering 1,837sq.m. — VNS