|Exhibits seized in a rhino horn smuggling case. Illustrative Photo. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), a non-governmental organisation working on wildlife conversation in Việt Nam, on Thursday, submitted an appeal to the Hà Nội People’s Court.
The appeal was against the first instance verdict for Nguyễn Mậu Chiến, an alleged kingpin of a transnational network, involved in trafficking rhino horns and ivory from Africa to Việt Nam.
Previously, at the trial at Hà Đông District Court on Tuesday, Chiến was sentenced to 13 months of imprisonment and asked to pay an additional fine of VNĐ10 million (US$440) for trafficking and storing prohibited goods.
According to ENV, the punishment is inappropriate and does not reflect the seriousness of his crime. Therefore, the organisation proposed to appeal the first instance verdict by increasing the penalties for Chiến. Specifically, ENV said in the appeal that it is not rational, as trafficking prohibited goods and storing prohibited goods are two independent crimes, and therefore, Chiến deserved two punishments for two crimes.
Moreover, in comparison with the 10-month imprisonment sentence granted to his accomplices Nguyễn Văn Tùng and Nguyễn Mậu Thuận, Chiến’s sentence of 13 months of imprisonment is not fitting considering his role as the leader of the wildlife trafficking and storing network.
According to the Vietnam News Agency, Nguyễn Mậu Chiến is alleged to be leading a transnational network involved in trafficking rhino horns, as well as in other illegal wildlife trade. On April 27 last year Chiến’s accomplices were caught transporting 15 pieces of rhino horn from HCM City to Hà Nội under his direction. On May 1, 2017, Chiến turned himself in.
On November 27 last year, the case file was returned for a further investigation, to look into the origin of the confiscated wildlife and inconsistencies in the subjects’ testimonies.
The arrest of Chiến in 2017 marks a milestone in Việt Nam’s battle against wildlife traffickers, as this is the first time a suspected leader of a wildlife trafficking network has been apprehended and prosecuted. — VNS