100 people receive sentences in Vietnam terrorism trial

By Quoc Thang   January 20, 2024 | 02:46 am PT
Ten people received life sentences Saturday for terrorism in deadly attacks on government offices in Dak Lak last year, according to a court verdict for 100 defendants in the case.

Among the defendants, aged 18-56, 53 people were charged with "terrorism against the people's government." Among them, H Wuen Eban and Y Sol Nie's behaviors were considered to be especially dangerous, being the masterminds who coaxed others into attacking the People's Committee offices in Ea Ktur and Ea Tieu communes in the Central Highlands province, resulting in nine deaths.

Both received life sentences from the Dak Lak People's Court. Prosecutors previously recommended them death sentences.

100 people strand trial before the Dak Lak People’s Court for deadly terrorist attacks, Jan. 18, 2024. Photo by VNA

100 people strand trial before the Dak Lak People’s Court for deadly terrorist attacks, Jan. 18, 2024. Photo by VNA

Eight others received life sentences for the same charge: Y Tho Ayun, Y Chanh Nie, Y Ju Nie, Y Tim Nie, Y Chun Nie, Y Not Siu, Nay Yen, Y Giop Mlo. 43 others received jail sentences between 6-20 years.

45 other defendants, including six on the run abroad, were charged with "terrorism," and received jail sentences between 3.5 years and 11 years.

Le Van Nghia received two years in jail for brokering illegal entry into Vietnam, and Y Cing Bya received nine months in jail for concealing crimes.

Following the sentences, the court will cooperate with authorities both inside and outside of Vietnam to transfer the six people currently wanted abroad back to Vietnam to serve their sentences.

Prosecutors from Dak Lak said Y Mut Mlo, the ringleader of the U.S.-based group MSGI (Support Group for Montagnards), had been persuading H Wuen Eban to join armed activities and launch attacks, including murder and the destruction of property, since 2015.

Mlo also introduced Eban to other members of MSGI, including Y Chik Nie, Y Nien Eya, Y But Eban, Y Chanh Bya and Y Sol Nie.

In August 2018, Bdap illegally crossed the border to enter Thailand and formed the MSFJ group (Montagnards Stand For Justice) to incite people of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands to perform terrorist acts.

In 2019, Eban joined MSGI to seek material support from outside of Vietnam to attack authorities in an attempt to form the so-called "Degar State" in the Central Highlands. "Degar" is a term used for Montagnards groups.

From 2019 to June 2023, Eban recruited people from Dak Lak villages to establish armed groups, as well as calling for funds to buy weapons.

Eban and his accomplices also threatened many to force them to join the armed groups. MSGI often sent money to Eban to pay for living expenses and other costs of the armed groups.

In early 2023, Eban requested permission from MSGI to allow armed groups to perform terrorist acts in Vietnam, including the murdering of innocent people and the destruction of property, to instill fear in the community. Y Sol Nie returned to Vietnam to help Eban with coordinating the terrorist acts.

On May 12, 2023, Nie came to Thailand from the U.S. and contacted Eban on how to return to Vietnam without being detected. Eban enlisted people to help Nie enter Vietnam, and Nie, along with Eban and others in the armed groups, devised plans and chose locations to attack authorities and steal weapons, among other acts.

They then chose the People’s Committee offices of Ea Ktur and Ea Tieu communes as their targets, as their remote, rural locations would make it easier for them to attack and retreat from.

Nie and Eban then approved the violent groups to attack the two sites, telling them to destroy everything and kill everyone present. Stealing weapons was also stated as a main goal.

The perpetrators were also instructed to expand their attacks to other sites.

Upon completion of such raids, those enlisted in the acts were also ordered to plant the flag of the so-called "Degar State" and record videos to promote their image.

Authorities said that on June 9 and 10 last year, the terrorists trained among themselves and created weapons in preparation to execute the plots. At night on June 10, they split into two groups: one of 33 people and another with 34, to visit the bloody attacks on two People’s Committee offices, which also housed local police stations.

The attacks killed two officials, three police officers, and four civilians, as well as injuring people.

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