Dong Tam case: Court screenings propaganda video as evidence to accuse land petitioners

On September 8, the trial took place the second day with an important concession from the judge that the lawyers were allowed to contact their clients after they filed their complaint on the previous day.

Also on September 8, the lawyers continued to be surprised when elaborately arranged propaganda videos continued to be shown in the courtroom as a Court show to convince the opponents to give up and should obediently bow to plead guilty.

Because the court actively compiled videos or took video clips as evidence, the lawyers continued to propose to have access to these videos which were electronic data in the case files but hidden from the attorneys.

These shreds of evidence have not been accessed by the lawyers and are not listed in the list of exhibits in the case documents, so the attorneys signed a joint request to be provided with this ‘list’ of electronic evidence, which really became an issue in this case,” lawyer Le Van Luan wrote on his Facebook page.

Regarding the difficulties due to the court’s deprivation of the request to meet the client, lawyer Le Ngoc Luan commented: The defense lawyers said that after the investigation ended, they exercised their right to request to meet the defendants in detention to make a defense plan but received no response after many attempts. Second, the lawyer also suggested that the files be copied at the police investigation agency and the People’s Procuracy of Hanoi for different reasons. It was not fair when the prosecution has months for investigations and prosecutions while the lawyers do not have quick access to the case documents.

Secondly, the Criminal Procedure Code clearly states that a lawyer has the right to meet the defendant at the trial, but the presiding judge says “not necessary.” What is not necessary? I am a lawyer who has participated in many large and small cases, from simple to complex and affirms that meeting the clients at court is especially important, lawyer Le Ngoc Luan stated his opinion.

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The image of Mr. Le Dinh Cong on VTV with comment pleading guilty with his face showing many wounds

Explaining the legality of the attack in the middle of the night of January 9, journalist Do Nga said: “The reason for the attack of the police forces in Hoanh village, Dong Tam commune at dawn on January 9, 2020, is coercive. But why the armed forces were sent to the locality which had no disputed? What law allows for the deployment of armed forces at midnight?”

On September 6, 2020, the VTCNews newspaper asked police General To An Xo, that whether the arrangement of the police force in Dong Tam commune to implement the enforcement plan for ground clearance was correct and why it was arranged police force during the night time? Then the major general replied that “it is not a coercive site clearance plan.” And he explained as follows “The police forces were responsible for completing the implementation of the security and order plan before 6.00 am on January 9, 2020, for the units of the Ministry of Defense to build the remaining fence in Dong Tam commune.”

In short, Mr. To An Xo denied that it was coercive to avoid being accused by the society for sending riot policemen to the commune which violates the law, so he turned to another explanation.

There are two questions to ask: First, if it was to protect the order for infantry soldiers to build fences, the police just need to arrange a blockade for the area under construction, why carry guns in the private residence to shoot people? Secondly, it is not right to say that the people were trying to attack the soldiers who build the fence. At 4.00 am they were in bed and they did not go to the construction site to threaten the soldiers so it is not correct to say that they did attack infantry soldiers.

Also murder but is distinguished as manslaughter and murder, meaning that the crime must always consider the cause of the crime. The Dong Tam case happened with 4 people being killed 4 people, one villager and three police officers.

In essence, the one who caused the death of Mr. Kinh was an assassination because he was at home and the police went inside to kill him.

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Who will be a witness to the bullet marks in Le Dinh Kinh’s bedroom, which is gathered by Professor Hoang Xuan Phu in detail in section 1.1, titled Savage Crimes in the dossier brought name Dong Tam Crime? Recently, the only witness, Bui Viet Hieu, said that they used a silencer to shoot at elderly Mrs. Kinh within a distance of 1 meter, then they tried to kill him but he was lucky to escape death

The act of attacking elderly Kinh’s house was illegal, even though it was explained from any angle. As for the death of 3 police officers, it is clear that they were the ones carrying out the illegal murder mission but died. These died police officers must be called perpetrators.

The justified defense is defined as “the necessary counter-action when a person’s life or health is compromised by others. Legitimate defense is not only to dismiss threats, repel illegal attacks, but it also shows a positive attitude against the infringement of the interests of ourselves or others.”

 Obviously, causing the deaths of three police officers of Dong Tam people is just a legitimate defense. They stay at home, people come home to kill them and the murderer dies,” journalist Do Nga gave analysis.

Film screening “propaganda

Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh stated 2 remarkable, unusual points that took place in the afternoon of September 7. The first is that the Court shows a reportage film, documentary such as a deliberate propaganda for the Government. At the beginning of the questioning part, instead of asking the defendants in the usual way, they did something unprecedented. That is to show a clip, which in fact is like a reportage, documentary film in which the government’s view is that Dong Tam people have sued the land incorrectly.

At the same time, from that to the second incorrect thing by saying the local people attacking the police forces in the early morning of January 9, 2020 to kill 3 police officers.

At the end of the movie, they showed the scenes of “harmed” families having died three police officers, which is a young wife crying without a voice, and a 6-month-old baby … roughly like that.

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Old house of Le Dinh Kinh – the second house from right – where Major General To An Xo called the new landlord

I am one of the lawyers who responded to this. Because, during the interrogation phase, if shown clips, sounds or images, it must be clips, sounds and images that represent evidence of the case. That is, it is factual and must be intact and unaltered.

The video was not when it is made from the perspective of the editor. It is cut and edited, even if they put music in it to create effects… that’s not proof. This is a very strange thing that I objected to.”

Lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng said “Elderly Bui Viet Hieu was questioned first. He refutes the Video because ‘full of ủneal images.’

They took the clip in which the Hanoi police released the hostage event at the Dong Tam communal cultural house on April 19, 2017, to combine it for the January 9, 2020 event. Regarding the clips of pleading guilty in the detention center, Mr. Hieu said the police investigators forced him to speak exactly what they want.”

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Mr. Bui Viet Hieu at the Hanoi People’s Court on September 7, 2020. 6 independent civil society organizations and more than 50 people have signed the Emergency Claim Form on September 7 addressed to the President, Chairman of the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister to request protection of him as an important witness

After replaying the clip recording the defendant’s testimony Bui Viet Hieu, the judge asked: “Did you hear your testimony clearly? Mr. Hieu replied: Yes. I heard these statements clearly, but I was forced by investigators to make those statements.” That was recorded in the court hearing minute.

On the strange behavior of the Hanoi Court showing the film during the trial, architect Le Quang commented: The Vietnamese court is probably the first place in modern history to allow a staged propaganda film to be shown during a debate session.

Around the world, the video in court can only be shown when it is considered “proof” and must be verified. The video proof cannot simply be a propaganda video released by the state television (in this case VTV). Any material, once revised, is not considered evidence. Such types of material do not have any court value. It must even be banned because it affects objective judgment.

Video ”evidence” must be provided by someone who is able to testify in court about the legitimacy of the video, meaning that if VTV provides a video of the ”evidence” they must appear in court as a “witness” and must pledge to take responsibility for the material they present. Personally, I fear that VTV is never (and cannot) be present as a witness at this trial.

Therefore, giving out a propaganda video (which has been cut up) can contribute to the creation of false information that damages the credibility of the courts, witnesses, victims, suspects … moreover, it causes hurt public confidence. This is something that ordinary people understand, not need to have in-depth knowledge.

In tight societies, people respect the “dignity” of the court, all published documents must be the result of serious collection and archival. A staged video was shown in the hearing that, all can be seen as a great disgrace to the judgment itself, and to the judiciary, architect Le Quang reached a conclusion. (Translated)

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