|The defendants at the court. — VNA/VNS Photo Phan Tuấn Anh|
ĐIỆN BIÊN — The People’s Court of Điện Biên on Wednesday rejected letters of appeal and decided to uphold the death sentence for six defendants for kidnapping, raping and murdering a 22-year-old woman.
Vì Văn Toán, Bùi Văn Công, Vương Văn Hùng, Phạm Văn Nhiệm, Lường Văn Hùng and Lường Văn Lả all saw their appeals fail.
Vì Văn Toán, identified as the ringleader, was sentenced to death for murder and 12 years in prison for kidnapping and appropriation of property.
Bùi Văn Công was sentenced to death for murder, 14 years for rape, 12 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 was sentenced to death for murder, 12 years for rape, and 12 years for kidnap and appropriation of property.
Lường Văn Hùng was given the death penalty for murder, 14 years for rape, and 12 years for kidnapping and appropriation of property.
Lường Văn Lả was sentenced to death for murder, 14 years for rape, and 11 years for kidnap and appropriation of property.
The court also upheld the sentence of another three defendants.
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.
The shocking incident happened in January 2019 when the victim 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.
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 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 police.— VNS