The communist nation is ranked as one of the biggest executioners in Southeast Asia
Nguyen Truong Chinh and his wife (right), parents of the death row prisoner Nguyen Van Chuong, hold banners calling on people to save their son in Hanoi in an undated photo. (Photo: Nguyen Truong Chinh)
Hundreds of lawyers and activists have called on the communist government in Vietnam to review the three fiercely disputed cases of death sentences.
In a petition signed by some 900 lawyers, teachers, journalists, former officials, Catholic priests, pastors and activists, lawyer Le Van Hoa asked the one-party government to re-investigate the death sentencing of Nguyen Van Chuong, Ho Duy Hai and Le Van Manh in different murder cases.
In the petition submitted to the general secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong and President Nguyen Van Thuong on Nov. 10, Hoa said the death sentences passed by courts “have clear signs of terrible injustice.”
Hoa said that the defendants' lawyers and families have presented many petitions, alleging the trials were “not objective and convincing."
Hoa, who started to offer legal aid to Chuong’s family in 2013, started the signature campaign on Nov. 1.
The petition, also submitted to the National Assembly, urged the government to “carry out special procedures to resolve the cases” of Chuong and Hai, who have been on death row since 2008.
They should be "released immediately" and those who conducted the wrongful trials should be punished, the petition demanded.
The petition came after the communist-ruled country executed Manh on Sept. 22, ignoring clemency pleas by the European Union and global rights groups.
Manh, accused of rape and murder of a girl in 2005, is reported to have admitted the crime under torture.
The petition said it was also necessary to review the case of Manh.
Vietnam is ranked as one of the biggest executioners in Southeast Asia by the international human rights group Amnesty. The nation recorded more than 119 death sentences in 2021.
Since 2013, executions in Vietnam have been carried out by lethal injections after they replaced firing squads.
Chuong from Hai Duong province was arrested on Aug. 3, 2007, for killing Police Major Nguyen Van Sinh in the neighboring town of Hai Phong on July 14. The married man was sentenced to death on June 12, 2008, by the People's Court of Hai Phong.
Advocate Hoa said the investigators failed to examine the crime scene until the afternoon of the following day.
Many witnesses have confirmed that the defendant was present in his hometown of Hai Duong at the time of the murder in Hai Phong, about 30 kilometers away.
Chuong, 40, has written to his family many times, confirming that he was tortured to force him to confess.
His father, Nguyen Truong Chinh, said his family and lawyers have sent countless petitions to review Chuong’s case without success.
The authorities have denied Chuong's allegations of torture.
In August, the EU, Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom called on the Vietnamese authorities to halt Chuong’s execution and criticized the use of the death penalty.
Hai is facing the death sentence for murdering two female postal staff before robbing them on Jan. 13, 2008, at the Cau Voi Post Office in Long An province.
The petition said the investigators failed to question other suspects who were reportedly present at the post office when the murder happened.
Sa La Hoa, a signatory to the petition, said they want the cases "be annulled and reinvestigated so as to restore public faith in the justice system.”
Vietnam freed and offered a public apology to three prisoners in murder cases in 2013, 2015 and 2016 after many lawyers and the National Assembly worked hard to save them.
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