The two-day first-instance hearing of the Triều Đại Việt (Vietname Dynasty) ended September 22 with a total of nearly 200 years in prison for 20 defendants.
The person who suffered the heaviest sentence was Mr. Nguyen Khanh (born in 1964 in Binh Duong), 24 years in prison and 5 years of probation, and has to compensate a total of more than VND200 million ($9,000). Mr. Khanh was convicted of two charges of “Terrorism against the people’s administration” and “Illegally manufacturing, storing and trading explosives.”
The other defendants received sentences ranging from 2 years to 18 years in prison.
The youngest of the 20 defendants was born in 1993, the oldest was born 1952. Two of these are from the S’Tieng ethnic minority. The defendants from many different provinces such as Tien Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, Long An, Nghe An, Dak Nong, Thanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Binh Duong, mainly work as freelance workers.
According to the indictment, the 20 defendants had connections with the Vietnam Dynasty in Canada. On June 20, 2018, they made homemade bombs and detonated them at three different locations in Vietnam, including the police headquarters of Hau Giang province; the police headquarters of Ward 12, Tan Binh district, Ho Chi Minh City; at a power pole in Kien Giang province.
The explosions did not cause casualties, but the case at the police headquarters of ward 12 left two people slightly injured, with a loss of more than VND400 million.
The indictment also said that “this is an infringement of the national security by the organization The Vietnam Dynasty with the aim and policy of attracting and gathering Vietnamese from inside and outside the country to participate in order to overthrow the regime.”
In court, Procuracy identified the defendants’ behavior as “particularly serious, endangering society; directly violating national security.”
“The sentences are too heavy”
Immediately after the trial, lawyer Nguyen Van Pieng, who defended two out of 20 defendants for free, told BBC News Vietnamese that “the sentences are too heavy.”
“When the court pointed out what was wrong, most of the defendants accepted it. It is true that the defendants had a number of unacceptable actions, such as buying explosives, making, and laying bombs. Among them, there are some people who themselves do not have a clear idea of violence when they follow the Vietnam Dynasty … But the sentences are too high, especially for the defendant leading the case (24 years in prison), plus with compensation, making the level of deterrence too great.”
In special case, in the family of Mr. Nguyen Khanh, both the father and the child were sentenced to severe prison terms, ranging from 17 years to 24 years.
“Of course, by law, the court has exercised the power allowed by the law. But to call upon people to repent, such a high sentence has almost stripped the defendants of their chances of repenting. As with the family of Mr. Nguyen Khanh, both father and son received very heavy sentences. Therefore the situation can be said to be very tragic. “
“In other political cases, the head of the case, head of a political organization were sentenced to only 15 years in prison while key persons in a political group received only 12 years,” lawyer Mieng commented.
According to the lawyer, the defendants acted like that for personal purposes, because they received the remittances, not for the purpose of anti-terrorism or terrorism. They reluctantly also followed the request. Specifically, when making and placing bombs, this group tried to minimize the risk for other people. No human casualty. The most terrible explosion was on December 20, 2018, at the police headquarters of Ward 12, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, with the damage of about VND400 million, only 2 people were very slightly injured. And the materials used to make bombs also do not have great damage.”
Attorney Mieng determined that he did not support the use of violence, especially bombs or terrorism, in the struggle for human rights and democracy.
What does the Vietnamese newspaper say?
According to the VOV newspaper, in court, the defendants have “sincerely testified and admitted their own wrongdoing“.
According to the Nhan Dan Police newspaper, the defendants received instructions from Ngo Hung (being wanted internationally) from the organization “Vietnam Dynasty” to persecute in order to overthrow the government.
This newspaper writes that the “Viet Dynasty” organization regularly publishes live streams on social networks “to propagate, defame the Party and the state, lash out at the socialist regime, entice and direct the purchase of objects. explosive materials, manufacturing explosives, causing explosives at headquarters of state agencies, police stations, etc.”
From November 2017 until it was discovered, Ngo Hung “manipulated and transferred sponsorship money to Nguyen Khanh, Nguyen Tan Thanh, and 15 others” to carry out “terrorist” acts in Ho Chi Minh City, Hau Giang, and Kien Giang, etc.
Since joining the “Viet Dynasty,” Mr. Khanh has received from Ngo Hung VND144 million and CAD600, still according to the People’s Police newspaper.
Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Mr. Nguyen Khanh in court that because of difficult circumstances, they “listened to the seduction of the reactionary organization in order to take money to take care of their family, but did not intend to oppose the state.”