April 23, 2014
State media say a court in Vietnam has sentenced an American to death for heroin trafficking.
The Liberated Saigon newspaper says Jason Dinh, 41, was convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin at a one-day trial by Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Court on Tuesday.
The paper said Wednesday that Dinh was arrested last June after customs officials found the heroin hidden in his underwear as he was boarding a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Australia.
The report quoted the indictment as saying Dinh was hired by an unidentified man to carry the heroin for $30,000.
Court officials were not available for comment Wednesday.
Vietnam has some of the world toughest drug laws, where possessing or trafficking 100 gram of heroin carries the death penalty.
(source: KRMG news)
april 10, 2014
The Vietnamese Ministry of Justice has suggested that the government consider limiting the scope of capital punishment, reducing charges subject to jail term sentences and expanding the application of non-custodial reforms.
The proposal is included in a recent report submitted by the ministry to the government about an orientation for amending the Penal Code, Tran Tien Dung, chief secretariat of the ministry, said Tuesday at a press briefing to review the justice sector’s performance in the first quarter of this year.
The ministry has also proposed non-criminalization of a number of offenses defined in the Penal Code, for the current criminalization of such offenses has no longer been conformable to the 2013 Constitution, Dung said.
At the same time, the ministry has also suggested the criminalization of many other offenses that are highly dangerous to society but are not yet governed by the Code, such as getting illicit gains.
22 charges subject to capital sentence
In 1985, the Penal Code stipulated 29 charges subjected to the death penalty, accounting for 14.89 percent of the total number of charges provided for the Code.
After that, the Code underwent four amendments, which brought the number of charges facing death to 44.
In 1999, the Code was revised again and the number of offenses subject to the death penalty was reduced to 22 out of the total number of 272 prescribed in the Code.
In a conference on death penalty reduction jointly organized in Hanoi by the Ministry of Justice and the UNDP in late December 2013, many law experts suggested that the highest penalty should be abolished for nine of the 22 above counts.
If the proposal is approved in the future, this means the number of charges subject to a capital sentence will be lowered to 13.
In regards to the execution of death sentences, Vietnam switched from firing squad to lethal injection in November 2011, under Decree 82/2011 by the government, based on the Law on Criminal Verdict Execution approved by the National Assembly in 2009.
The government also designated three types of drugs that had to be used to execute death row inmates.
All three must be imported from other countries because they cannot be produced at home.
However, the new execution method took years to implement due to a failure to import the drugs from the European Union (EU), which banned the exportation of lethal injection drugs because it considers capital punishment a violation of human rights.
The Vietnamese government then issued Decree 47/2013 to amend Decree 82, allowing domestically produced drugs to be used for executions.
Decree 47 took effect on June 27, 2013 and the first execution by lethal injection was carried out in Hanoi on August 6 last year.
march 14, 2014
Vu Viet Hung, former director of the Bank for Development of Viet Nam (BDV)’s branch of Dak Lak- Dak Nong provinces, was accused of taking bribes, misappropriation of assets and violating credit lending regulations.
He denied all of the charges.
His accomplices – Cao Bach Mai, Nguyen Thi Van and Tran Thi Xuan – were sentenced to life imprisonment for appropriating money and distributing bribes.
In addition, five former officials of the bank were also sentenced to five to 10 years in jail for violating credit lending regulations, while another official was given three years’ probation.
According to the indictment, between 2008-10, Hung, as director of the BDV Dak Lak-Dak Nong, had approved credit loans of VND350 billion (US$16.66 million) for Cao Bach Mai, former director of Minh Nhat Co. Ltd, and Tran Thi Xuan, former director of Nhat Tan Co. Ltd.
He permitted the lending of money despite being aware of their insolvency, and in return was given a car worth VND3.2 billion ($152,380).
Further, Hung allegedly signed falsified deposit contracts at his bank to help Mai and Xuan, along with Nguyen Thi Van, former head of Song Cau Cooperative and Dang Thi Ngan, former director of Thuy Ngan Co. Ltd., to appropriate VND580 billion ($27.61 million) from the Nam A Joint Stock Commercial Bank, Hanoi branch, and the Phuong Dong Joint Stock Commercial Bank, HCM City exchange.
Mai forged 75 export contracts with foreign partners to borrow over VND1 trillion from BIDV Dak Lak – Dak Nong and then appropriated VND155 billion ($7.14 million) from the bank, according to court officials.
february 15, 2014
The UK’s decision to send millions of pounds in aid to Vietnam has been called into question after the country confirmed that it is to execute 30 heroin smugglers.
Since Vietnam said in January that it will execute 21 men and 9 women, human rights groups have urged governments around the world to ensure aid is not used to help the country arrest drug traffickers, given that they can face the death penalty.
No country is more vocal than the UK in opposing the death penalty, but there are concerns that by funding counter-narcotics programmes, it is indirectly supporting execution of smugglers.
There was outrage 2 years ago when the Observer reported on the UK’s role in funding Iran’s counter-narcotics programme, which has seen thousands of drug traffickers arrested and hundreds executed.
Now questions are being asked about the UK’s donations to Vietnam made via the UN, which funds initiatives to combat the country’s long-standing heroin smuggling problem. Pressure groups fear the use of capital punishment in Vietnam is arbitrary and that death sentences are often passed when the accused has had inadequate legal representation. Many of those executed are “mules” coerced into smuggling by gangs.
Since 2008, the Department for International Development has contributed $10m to the country via a $90m programme called One UN Fund II. Much of the money paid into the fund is unallocated, allowing Vietnamese authorities to decide how it is spent.
Among the agencies receiving the One Fund aid money is UNODC, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which has been allocated around $4m for 2012-17. UNODC says a key measure of whether the funding has had any impact will be seen in “the number of drug traffickers arrested, prosecuted and convicted”.
In a letter to the UN last week, three charities said: “This strategy places UNODC’s work in direct connection to the application of the death penalty.”Reprieve, Harm Reduction International (HRI) and World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. “The UNODC strategy, while risky from a human rights perspective, fails to include any international human rights law within its legal framework. It contains no human rights risk assessment. This again raises the concern that UN programmes are assisting in operations that lead to the death penalty for those prosecuted, with no accountability mechanisms in place to ensure this is prevented and to react decisively when it occurs.”
The charities stressed that they believed foreign aid was essential for helping countries such as Vietnam develop. However, they said it should not been funnelled into tackling drug smuggling.
“The UN seeks unrestricted funding for its work in Vietnam, and governments trust them with it,” said Damon Barrett, HRI’s deputy director. “Mostly this is a good idea. But the drug enforcement component is far too close to human rights abuses and UNODC has shown an unwillingness to deal with that.”
The human rights groups have demanded to know what measures have been put in place to “ensure that UN drug enforcement assistance in Vietnam does not assist in the arrests of those that will later face the death penalty”, and whether the organisation will “agree to a freeze on drug enforcement assistance until such time as a moratorium on executions is in place.”
There is considerable secrecy around the death penalty in Vietnam. However, the Vietnamese government admitted in a 2003 submission to the UN Human Rights Committee that “over the last years, the death penalty has been mostly given to persons engaged in drug trafficking”.
(source: The Guardian)
GENEVA (AFP) – The United Nation’s human rights office on Friday voiced concern over Vietnam resuming executions after a two-year hiatus in the use of capital punishment, warning that dozens more were poised to die.
“We are dismayed by the resumption of the death penalty by Vietnam,” the office’s spokesman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
Vietnam executed its first prisoner – a 27-year-old murderer – by lethal injection on Tuesday, its state media said.
The communist country had put capital punishment on ice almost two years ago due to problems procuring the chemicals for lethal injections. (Agence France-Presse)
August 6, 2013: A 27-year-old man convicted of murder and robbery has become the first death-row prisoner to be executed with the lethal injection in Vietnam.
The inmate, Nguyen Anh Tuan of Hanoi, was executed with the new method in the morning at the Hanoi Police Prison, according to a Thanh Nien News source.
He was executed with three drugs that put him to sleep, relaxed his muscles and stopped his heart.
The execution was completed at 10 a.m. and his body was handed to his family for a funeral.
Tuan was sentenced to death by the Hanoi People’s Court on January 20, 2010 on murder and robbery convictions.
His accomplice, Nguyen Hai Hoan, had committed suicide before the trial began.
According to the verdict, Tuan and Hoan made friends with Bui Thi Nguyet, born in 1981, who worked at a gas station in Hanoi.
The crime took place on March 8, 2009 when the duo invited Nguyet to go out to a café but threatened her midway with a knife to rob VND400,000 and her cell phone.
Hoan stabbed her when she attempted to run away while Tuan tried to stop her from crying for help. They threw her body in a nearby pond.
The duo was arrested on June 21, 2009.
Tuan became the first death-row prisoner to be executed by lethal injection in Vietnam since it switched from the firing squad in November 2011.
However, a lack of lethal injection doses led to a delay of executions because the original decree stipulated that the drugs be imported from the European Union (EU).
The EU banned the exportation of lethal injection drugs because it regards capital punishment to be a violation of human rights.
The Vietnamese government later amended the decree, which took effect on June 27, allowing domestic-made drugs. (Source: thanhniennews.com, 06/08/2013)