Four jailed in central Vietnam for inciting violence

By Thanh Chau   August 23, 2018 | 01:26 am PT
Four jailed in central Vietnam for inciting violence
Six people were sentenced between five months in probation and two years in prison for inciting SEZ law protest in the central province of Ninh Thuan. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Chau
Six more people have been punished for inciting and engaging in violence during recent protests against the SEZ draft law.

A court in the central province of Ninh Thuan sentenced six people on Wednesday to between five months in probation and two years in jail for “disturbing public order” during protests against Vietnam’s draft law on special economic zones (SEZ).

The defendants had incited and/or engaged in violence among protesters in the province on June 10, the court heard Wednesday.

It sentenced Nguyen Van Nghia, 31, to two years in prison for urging protestors to engage in violence, blocking traffic and throwing rocks at the local police station.

Three others facing the same charges were sentenced to between eight to 12 months in prison, while two minors were given five to eight months in probation.

All the defendants pleaded guilty.

The protest in Ninh Thuan was one of several that erupted in Vietnam in opposition of the draft law on SEZs, particularly a provision that would allow foreign investors to lease land for 99 years, while the maximum period under the current Land Law is 70 years.

Thousands of people took to the streets on the same day in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and several provinces, with banners and signs calling for the draft law to be scrapped. The bill which was scheduled to be passed in June has been postponed for further discussions in October.

Following the demonstrations, police detained hundreds of violent protesters and said they’d uncovered evidence that the protests were anti-state actions instigated by organizations based in other countries using false, distorted information about the law.

Last month, 16 protesters in the south central province of Binh Thuan were sentenced to up to three and a half years in prison for engaging in violence during the SEZ law protests.

Also last month, HCMC put a Vietnamese American protester on trial for inciting violence during the protests, but ended up deporting him, saying it was a first-time offense and he was repentant about his actions.

Despite several postponements, Vietnam is yet to pass a law on demonstrations, so organizing protests is deemed illegal.

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