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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 10/16/2008, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Vietnamese journalist jailed for exposing regime scandal

    Thuy Dung

    Four defendants stood before the court for exposing the PMU 18 bribery affair. Those who defended themselves got harsher sentences.
    Hanoi (AsiaNews) – After a two-day trial a Hanoi court handed down a two-year sentence to a journalist, a year sentence to a former police officer, a warning to another journalist and house arrest for the former chief of the investigative police. All four defendants had been charged in connection with the worst scandal to hit Vietnam’s Communist regime.

    The affair involved Project Management Unit 18 (aka PMU 18), a plan to spend millions of dollars to upgrade the country’s infrastructure, especially roads and bridges, which instead ended up as bets on European  soccer matches, money to buy luxury cars and pay for mistresses and prostitutes.

    The scandal, which broke wide open in 2006, compromised several senior government and party officials. The Transportation minister had to resign and his deputy minister got 18 months in prison.

    However, even though the government tried quietly to sweep the affair under the rug, ordering new trials that ended in acquittals and reinstatement in the party, two journalists exposed 40 “other” officials who gave and took bribes to hush up matters. It was rumoured that among these “other” officials there were even more senior political leaders. And so we had this trial.

    In traditional Stalinist fashion the official report by state-run VNA news agency noted that all “four defendants said that their offences were professional errors and pleaded for clemency on the grounds of their previous contributions as well as health reasons.” The trial, the report explained, “touched upon the responsibilities” of the newspaper’s editors-in-chief where the “ex-reporters had made erroneous reports.”

    The first statement is plainly not true whilst the second is an obvious threat.

    In fact 56-year-old journalist Nguyen Viet Chien challenged the charges, especially that of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state.”

    “With my journalist conscience, I can say I never have any other purpose in mind when writing my reports” other than “exposing wrongdoing and fighting corruption,” he told the court.

    “When PMU 18 [affair] was discovered, the whole political system of this country was focused on the issue," he added.

    In the end he got two years in prison for his pains.

    The other journalist, 33-year-old Nguyen Van Hai, did admit his errors and so got house arrest.

    Colonel Dinh Van Huynh defended himself on the first day of the trial and said nothing on the second and was sentenced to a year in prison.

    Police Major General Pham Xuan Quac, 62, who headed the investigation, did not utter a word during the trial and only got an official “warning”.

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    See also

    16/04/2008 VIET NAM
    Government announces intention to return land around La Vang shrine
    The deputy chairman of the local People’s Committee makes the unexpected announcement. Almost all of the property is involved. Opinions differ as to why the decision was taken.

    22/09/2008 VIETNAM
    Thugs attack Thai Ha Catholics as police look on
    Goon squad goes into action under the indifferent eye of the police, ransacking, destroying an outdoor altar, and sullying a statue of Our Lady. Hanoi authorities have the archbishop’s residence surrounded, pledging to “severely punish” the archbishop, guilty among other things of trying to exercise his rights that are recognised under law.

    27/08/2008 VIETNAM
    After 30 years Caritas is reborn in Vietnam
    The government approves bishops’ request to use the name for their “charitable and social activities.” This will allow for a more unified approach at a national, diocesan and parish levels. However Caritas Internationalis does not get the go ahead.

    14/05/2009 VIETNAM
    Bishop of Ban Me Thuot to renew the mission among the Montagnards
    In an exclusive interview, Mgr Vincent Nguyen Van Ban, the newly-consecrated bishop of central Vietnam, talks about his episcopacy’s priorities: poverty, health care and minority rights. Traditional songs and readings in local languages enliven the ceremony.

    21/02/2007 VIETNAM
    Fr Nguyen Van Ly arrested in Huế
    The priest was arrested after a building that is part of the Bishop’s Palace compound was searched. Known for his battles in favour of freedom of religion, he has already spent ten years in prison.



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