Six Vietnamese jailed for clashes in SEZ law protest

By Phuoc Tuan   July 12, 2018 | 03:33 pm GMT+7

Six Vietnamese were sent to prison for violations committed during last month’s protests against a draft law on special economic zones.

Seven people stand trial in Binh Thuan Province on Thursday for inciting protests in June. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

Seven people stand trial in Binh Thuan Province on Thursday for inciting protests in June. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

A court in the central province of Binh Thuan sentenced Nguyen Dinh Vu, 41, and Tran Thi Ngoc, 50, to two years in prison on Thursday for disrupting public order during protests that broke out against the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) draft law.

Four others received 30 months in prison for similar offences, while Nguyen Minh Hai, a minor, got an 18-month suspended sentence.

On June 11, the accused had stormed the offices of the People’s Committee of Binh Thuan and burnt vehicles, destroyed other property and clashed with the police. The protests were deemed as violent and "unacceptable" by local officials.

All seven pleaded guilty before the court.

Vehicles are burned outside a government office in Binh Thuan following protests on June 11. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

Vehicles are burned outside a government office in Binh Thuan following protests on June 11. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

The protests in Binh Thuan were among a number that erupted in Vietnam on June 10 and 11. Thousands of people had also taken to the streets in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and several provinces, with banners and signs calling for the SEZ draft law to be scrapped.

They reportedly objected a provision that would allow foreign investors to lease land for 99 years, saying that such a law would allow foreign countries to undermine Vietnam’s sovereignty. The bill which was scheduled to be passed in June has been postponed for further discussions in October.

As Vietnam has delayed passing the Law on Demonstration several times, all acts to incite public protests are now deemed illegal.

Following the demonstrations, police detained hundreds of protesters and said they uncovered evidence that the protests were anti-state actions incited by organizations based in other countries using false, distorted information on the draft laws.

Prosecutors in Binh Thuan have already charged at least 10 other protesters for similar offenses while police in Dong Nai Province outside HCMC are seeking prosecution for 20 protesters.

 
 
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