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Premier sides with farmer in land dispute

Authorities 'broke law' when allocating plot, trying to evict tenant by force reporter, Ha Noi

February 14, 2012

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The prime minister has sided with a farmer arrested last month after he and his family tried to prevent authorities evicting them from their land with homemade guns and bombs. At a recent special meeting with several agencies to resolve the land dispute, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung concluded that the authorities broke the law by withdrawing land allocated to Peter Doan Van Vuon several years ago. Six policemen and soldiers were injured when violence flared when they tried to evict Vuon from the land in Tien Lang district of Hai Phong city on January 5. The district authorities “were completely wrong about land allocation, the terms of land use, and the eviction of Vuon by force,” Dung said. Local authorities allocated 40 hectares of land to Vuon to use for a 14-year period, but land laws states the period should have been 20 years. Dung also told local authorities to “process the necessary documentation and procedures that will allow Vuon to continue using the land.” He also ordered those responsible for the destruction of Vuon’s house to be suspended and for police to investigate and prosecute them. Two top district officials have been suspended. Dung also said the courts should treat Vuon and other arrested family members leniently, since their offenses were provoked by local authorities making unlawful decisions. “We are grateful to the premier who expressed good judgment. No one wins in this case as this is not a war. This case was all caused by mistakes by local officials,” said Nguyen Thi Thuong, Vuon’s wife, when she heard Dung’s decision.   Related reports: PM to try to resolve eviction dispute Anger increases over land disputes          
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