|Defendants (in light blue shirts) at the trial on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn
HÀ NỘI — The trial of 29 villagers accused of involvement in the murder of three policemen in Đồng Tâm Commune of Ha Noi's Mỹ Đức District opened on Monday.
All the defendants are residents of Hoành and Đồng Mít hamlets. Among them, 25 face the charge of murder while the four others are accused of resisting on-duty officers.
Representatives of the People’s Committee of Đồng Tâm Commune, the People’s Committee of Mỹ Đức District and families of the victims were present at the trial.
There are 33 lawyers defending the accused and three others representing the victims’ families.
According to the procuracy’s indictment, despite being aware the land in Sênh Field of Đồng Tâm Commune was used for defence purpose under the management of the Ministry of National Defence as confirmed by the Hà Nội Inspectorate and the Government Inspectorate, in 2013, Lê Đình Kình, born in 1936, a resident in Hoành Hamlet and some others set up a so-called “group of consensus” to re-occupy and divide the land lot among themselves.
They allegedly frequently incited locals to file complaints about the Đồng Tâm administration’s land management and use, used social networks to spread the false information that the Sênh Field belongs to Đồng Tâm commune and called on local people to “struggle to keep the land”.
In late 2019 and early 2020, upon learning the Hà Nội Department of Public Security co-ordinated with the air defence-air force service of the Defence Ministry to deploy personnel to protect the force building fencing walls around the Miếu Môn Airfield on the Sênh Field, Kình and his accomplices allegedly bought weapons to attack the authorised force.
In the early hours on January 9, when the police arrived at the gate of Hoành Hamlet, about 50m from Kình’s house, the group allegedly used handmade weapons to attack the police force, causing three police officers to fall into a pit near Kình’s house. Lê Đình Chức and Lê Đình Doanh are suspected of pouring gasoline into the pit and setting it alight, killing the three policemen.
The authorised force found Kình allegedly holding a grenade and calling on others to resist, so they shot him dead.
Investigation results indicate that Lê Đình Kình and four others were the masterminds, who both directed others to commit and engage in the murder of the policemen.
However, as Kình was shot dead by police, he was not included in the case.
Also on the morning of January 9, when the police were conducting their mission at the junior high school and the fish pond in Đồng Tâm, three suspects allegedly attacked them with knives. After they were arrested by the police, two other women allegedly attacked the police with knives and stones. The women fled but later handed themselves in.
The trial is scheduled to last for 10 days.
Major General Tô Ân Xô, chief of the office and spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Security, said the case in Đồng Tâm was a very serious one with defendants committing ferocious actions, causing public outrage.
Responding to the Vietnam News Agency’s question over the reason for police force mobilisation at the village at night, Xô said the deployment of personnel to ensure order and security and protect the force building fencing walls around the Miếu Môn Airfield was not a coercive plan for land clearance because at the time the military force was building the fencing walls, there was no land dispute around the airfield. Fourteen households owning farming lands which were taken to build the airfield are in favour of the State plans, received land compensation and left the defence land.
The police had to ensure security before 6am of January 9 so units of the Ministry of National Defence started to build the remaining fencing walls in Đồng Tâm Commune. In all security plans, police take security measures and are mobilised around the clock, including before, during and after the event to ensure safety and security so the mobilisation of police at night complied with the law, he said. — VNS