In rare move, Vietnam announces execution date of jilted lover behind family massacre

By Phuoc Tuan   November 15, 2017 | 10:45 am GMT+7
In rare move, Vietnam announces execution date of jilted lover behind family massacre
Nguyen Hai Duong at a trial for the murder of six people in Binh Phuoc Province. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

It is extremely unusual for the country to give the public prior notice of an execution.

The murder of six family members that shocked the entire nation more than two years ago has resurfaced now that judges have announced that the killer will be executed this Friday.

It is extremely unusual for Vietnam to inform the public of an execution beforehand, but the announcement seems fit for a case that caught widespread media and public attention, with many calling it “a massacre”. It also serves public interest in a country where there is still strong belief that capital punishment is the answer to serious crimes.

Nguyen Hai Duong, 26, was found guilty of a murder-robbery that took place in July 2015 in Binh Phuoc Province, three hours north of Saigon.

He will be put to death by poison injection, the province’s People’s Court said late Tuesday. He has been held in the province’s prison and his condition is “stable”, one judge said.

According to the indictment, Duong devised a plan to kill the family after they opposed his relationship with their daughter, leading them to break up.

Duong told his accomplice, Vu Van Tien, they were going to rob the family's villa.

On the morning in question, they arrived at the villa armed with knives and proceeded to stab Duong’s estranged girlfriend, her parents, brother and two cousins to death. They left sparing the family’s 18-month baby, taking cash and gadgets worth around $2,200.

Both Duong and Tien were arrested days later and sentenced to death in late 2015.

Duong accepted his punishment, but Tien, also 26, filed an appeal, which was rejected by the Supreme People’s Court in July last year.

Tien has filed a petition to Vietnam’s president.

Vietnam reduced the number of crimes subject to capital punishment from 45 to 22 between 1993 and 2012, and is set to bring the number down to 17 from the beginning of next year.

The country, which switched to lethal injection from firing squad in 2011, was one of 55 countries to still impose the death sentence in 2016, according to statistics from Amnesty International.

Official figures from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security showed that 429 prisoners were executed between August 2013 and June 2016.

Earlier this year, the ministry said it was building five more execution facilities. Serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, murder and rape, have not seen a downtrend, it said.

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