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

    » 03/27/2014, 00.00


    Hero who fought forced evictions jailed and fined

    In addition to a five-year sentence, Peter Doan Van Vuon will have to pay a fine of more than a thousand dollars. The courageous family man had filed a suit for material and moral damages demanding US$ 1.4 million in compensation, but the court rejected the defence arguments.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A Court of appeal dismissed fish farmer Doan Van Vuon's demand for compensation for material and moral damages over his courageous family's fight against forced evictions by the Vietnamese government.

    The court, issued yesterday by the Court of Appeals in Hai Phong (northern Vietnam), confirmed Mr Doan's five-year sentence and imposed a 23 million dong (US$ 1,090) fine.

    His lawyers had asked for 30 billion dong (US$ 1.4 million) in compensation, but the court rejected what they deemed a baseless claim.

    The story starring Doan Van Vuon and his family epitomises the abusive behaviour by Vietnam's central and local authorities when it comes to land and property, this in a country where virtually everything belongs to the Communist state. In fact, some 70 per cent of all such cases involve land, and the rights of individuals are neither protected nor recognised.

    Many inside and outside the Asian country closely followed the case of this courageous family, its appeals and actions against Mr Duon's incarceration.

    "We knew this would happen," his wife Nguyen Thi Thuong told RFA's Vietnamese Service. She could not attend the court hearing.

    Vu Van Luan, vice-chairman of the Tien Lang Seafood Cultivation Association, tried to argue in court that the land eviction was illegal by "quoting law and regulations with regards to land confiscation," but "due to political matters, they ignored everything" the defence had to say.

    The case is but the latest episode in a long series of confrontations between the authorities and ordinary people, as well as the Catholic Church, over the ownership of land, buildings and businesses.

    In this case, the controversy revolves around 40 acres of land that Mr Duon got in concession from the government back in 1993. Over the years, thanks to his work, he turned marshland and swamps into a fish farm. However, after their investment began to pay off, the authorities decided to claim the farm in 2009.

    After a long legal battle, they issued an ultimatum on 24 November 2011, telling the family to get off the land and stop its activities. Instead of accepting the fait accompli, Peter and his family decided to react.

    When on 5 January 2012 a group of soldiers approached the area to carry out the expropriation order, they were "greeted" by a volley of shots, bullets and grenades. They were not meant to kill, but to stop the agents from entering the property.

    No one was hurt or killed in the incident, but a few days later, police raided the site again, and arrested family members who were put on trial for "murder".

    Catholics and others came out on the side of the accused, astonished by Doan Vuon's determination to defend his business.

    In response to the case, Mgr Paul Nguyen Thai Hop, president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam, and Mgr Joseph Vu Van Thien, bishop of Hai Phong, began a petition, calling for the acquittal of the accused.

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    See also

    01/08/2013 VIETNAM
    Vietnam's top court upholds conviction for anti-eviction hero
    Court dismisses appeal, upholds five-year sentence imposed on Peter Doan Van Vuon, head of a courageous family. His brother's sentence is also upheld. Two other family members see their sentence reduced. Disputes over land and property keep escalating in Vietnam.

    18/01/2012 VIETNAM
    Hai Phong: Bishop and Catholics against the expropriation of "brave family’s" land
    Peter Doan Vuon and relatives oppose the seizure of land and activities, held since 1993. The government, in an arbitrary manner, ordered its seizure and sent in the military. In response, they mounted an armed defense - without killing or injuring anyone – of their property. Political leaders and ordinary citizens sympathize with the man considered a hero.

    18/02/2014 VIETNAM
    Hanoi: conviction of Catholic lawyer Le Quoc Quan upheld on appeal
    He will remain in jail for 30 months and pay a US$ 57,000 fine for "tax evasion". The defendant's lawyer challenged the court, asking that his client be tried "for his activism," not on trumped-up charges. His family was not allowed to attend the trial. Outside the courthouse, more than a hundred people protested, calling for his release.

    15/03/2012 VIETNAM
    Hanoi jails eight Hmong Christians for "disturbing security"
    State media attack the eight for promoting separatism, claim the court showed a "humanitarian" and "benevolent" side. Last May, the authorities cracked down hard causing bloodshed, including deaths. At the end of their prison terms, the accused will spend two years under house arrest.

    23/09/2016 09:25:00 VIETNAM
    Hanoi, Catholic blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh back in prison

    He must serve five years in prison. He was sentenced along with his assistant for having "violated the interests of the state" by publishing articles online. The defense lawyers argue that the trial was not democratic: "The accusation is based on false evidence, and under the current Penal Code Vinh is innocent."


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