Vì Văn Toán at the appellate court on Tuesday in the northern province of Điện Biên.—VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh
ĐIỆN BIÊN — Appeal proceedings have begun for a group of men who were sentenced to death for kidnapping, raping and murdering a 22-year-old woman.
The shocking crime happened in January 2019 when the woman was abducted in retaliation over a drugs debt.
She was repeatedly raped and eventually strangled to death with her body left in an abandoned house in Điện Biên Province.
Nine defendants from Điện Biên Phủ City were convicted of the crime in December 2019 but now they are appealing the severity of their sentences.
Vì Văn Toán who was the ringleader, was sentenced to death for murder and 13 years for kidnapping and appropriation of property. Bùi Văn Công was sentenced to death for murder, 14 years for rape, 13 years for kidnapping and appropriation of property, and 24 months for storing drugs.
Vương Văn Hùng was given the death penalty for murder, 10 years for rape, and 12 years for kidnap and appropriation of property. Phạm Văn Nhiệm, and Lường Văn Lả were sentenced to death for murder, 12 years for rape, and 11 years for kidnap and appropriation of property.
Lường Văn Hùng was given the death penalty for murder, 13 years for rape, and 12 years for kidnapping and appropriation of property.
Phạm Văn Dũng and Cầm Văn Chương received 10-year and nine-year jail terms, respectively, for rape.
Bùi Thị Kim Thu, Công’s wife, was sent to prison for three years for failing to report the crimes.
According to police, Trần Thị Hiền, 44, the victim's mother, hired Công to deliver heroin and owed him VNĐ30 million (US$1,300).
Công then kidnapped her daughter to recoup his debt, but the mother never paid the ransom money.
Toán, whom Hiền had allegedly owed VNĐ300 million ($13,000) for drugs since 2009, thought the woman would pay him the money to save her daughter. But Hiền refused to do so.
On January 4, 2019 – Lunar New Year's eve, after taking the girl to his house, Công and his gang, including Nhiệm, Lả, Hùng and Dũng, took turns to rape the woman for three consecutive days.
Hùng and Chương allegedly raped the victim once in the early hours of February 7 before she was strangled to death and left at an abandoned house near Công’s home.
Công’s wife, Thu, witnessed the girl being raped and killed by the men, but did not inform the police.
The trial panel consists of three judges. Bùi Xuân Trọng, is assigned to be the presiding judge and two prosecutors from the high-level People's Procuracy, based in Hà Nội, will hold the right to prosecute.
Additionally, the trial panel also summoned the head of the provincial forensic centre, a forensic examiner of the Institute of Criminal Sciences of the Ministry of Public Security, an investigator of the provincial Police Department and other relevant people to participate in the court.
The appellate court was organised after Cao Văn Hường, father of the victim, sent a letter of appeal to the high-level People's Procuracy, based in Hà Nội. The letter said that some details had not been clarified.
Some defendants of the case also appealed to the trial court’s judgment and applied for lesser sentences.
In another development, the appeal case against Hiền for the drugs related charges which led to her daughter being kidnapped, raped and killed, was postponed on Monday due to the absence of the lawyer. — VNS