Vietnam official jailed for wrongful eviction
Authorities to pay more than $14,000 to farmer and family
A district official was sentenced yesterday to two and a half years in prison for destroying a Catholic family’s farms and houses in Hai Phong city. Four other officials were put on probation.
Nguyen Van Khanh, former vice-president of the People’s Committee of Tien Lang district, was convicted on charges of destroying Peter Doan Van Vuon's property.
Khanh, 52, was accused of leading an eviction team and ordering hundreds of policemen and soldiers to destroy farms and two houses owned by Vuon and his relatives in January 2011.
State-run media reported Khanh denied the charges against him and said he only “committed a crime of ignoring my duties and causing heavy destruction to others.”
Media also reported that “Vuon asked the court to reduce Khanh’s sentence while suggesting the court impose heavier sentence on other defendants.”
Four other officials including Le Van Hien, former president of the district, were given between 15 and 24 months’ probation.
Earlier Vuon’s relatives and local people said Khanh had strongly protested against the government’s action and had been forced to lead the eviction team.
Khanh and other defendants were required to pay 295 million dong (US$14,135) in damages.
The story made headlines when Vuon and his relatives used homemade guns and bombs to try to repel the eviction, resulting in injuries to seven policemen and soldiers.
Last week, Vuon was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted murder.
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