State President Vo Van Thuong, a young politician, at the age of 52, has been playing a prominent role in Vietnamese politics.
Observers assess that Thuong will likely go further from his current position as State President. And the fact that Thuong – in his capacity as State President, has just signed a series of decisions to reduce death sentences to life imprisonment for death row prisoners – has made a big impression.
Tuoi Tre newspaper on February 6 reported, “The State President commuted the death sentences of five people to life in prison.” The news said that, at the request of the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court and the Director of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, on February 6, State President Vo Van Thuong signed a decision to reduce the death sentence to life in prison for 5 inmates who rsubmitted petitions for clemency to the President.
It is known that this is the second time President Vo Van Thuong has signed a decision to reduce the death penalty, in just over a month. Previously, on December 27, 2023, Mr. Thuong signed a decision to commute the punishment from death to life imprisonment for 18 people. Not to mention, in August 2023, on the occasion of the National Day on September 2, Mr. Vo Van Thuong also signed a similar amnesty decision for 11 people.
According to observers, there is no evidence to show that the two death row inmates who have pleaded guilty for many years but have not yet been exonerated, Nguyen Van Chuong and Ho Duy Hai, are on the amnesty list this time or not?
Vietnam has long been one of the countries considered by the world to have handed out the most death sentences. Amnesty International’s report said that in 2022, Vietnam has sentenced at least 102 people to death, and is the 8th country in the world ranking.
It is worth mentioning that in 2023, the Vietnamese government executed the sentence of death row prisoner Le Van Manh, who had pleaded guilty for 18 years, despite opposition from lawyers as well as domestic and international community.
Is there any connection between the fact that President Vo Van Thuong has signed a series of decisions to reduce sentences for death row prisoners; and the fact that at the end of 2023, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court Nguyen Hoa Binh continuously “clarified” that “the trial of criminal cases is guaranteed to be strict, with the right people, and right crime,” there have been no cases of unjustly sentencing innocent people or letting criminals go unnoticed.
Not to mention the fact that Luu Binh Nhuong – former deputy head of the People’s Petition Committee of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly – was probed and detained by the Ministry of Public Security. Nhuong was arrested, believed to be related to the incident, the online community sent a petition and message to President Vo Van Thuong, requesting to consider the unjust sentence of death row prisoner Nguyen Van Chuong, which was successful.
Lawyer Le Van Hoa said “President Vo Van Thuong has received the message and is giving instructions to resolve it.” Journalist Nguyen Duc, former Editor of Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper, said that Luu Binh Nhuong on the morning of August 5, 2023, sent a message to President Vo Van Thuong, and then Nhuong announced that President Vo Van Thuong replied by text message: “Your message has been received and is being resolved.”
Journalist Nguyen Duc also said that on the morning of September 27, 2023, at the National Assembly’s People’s Reception headquarters, Luu Binh Nhuong and the staff of the National Assembly Standing Committee received very warmly the parents of death row prisoner Nguyen Van Chuong.
According to observers, the above series of moves have nothing to do with Regulation No. 132-QD/TW dated October 27, 2023 of the Politburo, on “controlling power, preventing and combating corruption and negativity in investigation, prosecution, trial and judgment enforcement activities”. That Mr. Vo Van Thuong, in his previous role as Standing Secretary of the Secretariat, actively promoted to force agencies: Police, Procuracy and Courts at all levels, in judicial activities, to have stricter and more methodical control.
The Cau Voi Post Office case, which occurred in Long An province, involving death row prisoner Ho Duy Hai, is a typical example. Ho Duy Hai was still sentenced to death, despite the Supreme People’s Procuracy protesting, requesting a re-investigation according to the cassation procedure, and at the same time the National Assembly Judicial Committee also had an opinion requesting that reconsider this case.
Yet, on May 8, 2020, the Council of Judges of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam, headed by Chief Justice Nguyen Hoa Binh, despite admitting that, during the investigation of the case, the Long An Police used evidence purchased at the market to include in the case file. But Chief Justice Binh, despite everything, still said that “although there were errors, it did not change the nature of the case.”
Meanwhile, knowledgeable people believe that the “emergency” arrest of Luu Binh Nhuong was an intentional attempt to search for evidence related to forces within the Party. These forces are looking for every way to “kick” To Lam and Nguyen Hoa Binh out of the key personnel race of the upcoming 14th National Congress of the ruling party.
According to analysts, the rise of State President Vo Van Thuong has overshadowed the role of other candidates, such as top legislator Vuong Dinh Hue and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and even Minister of Public Security To Lam, in the race for the party chief.
Tra My – Thoibao.de