Fifteen Set to Appeal Sentences For Bien Hoa Protests in Vietnam

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Protesters in Saigon demonstrate against government plans to grant long-term leases to foreign firms operating in special economic zones, June 9, 2018.
Protesters in Saigon demonstrate against government plans to grant long-term leases to foreign firms operating in special economic zones, June 9, 2018.
William Nguyen/Twitter

Fifteen Vietnamese protesters handed jail terms for their role in mass protests in Bien Hoa city in June will go before a judge on Thursday to appeal their sentences, sources said.

The 15, part of a larger group of 20 convicted on July 30 on charges of disrupting public order, are the only members of the group to appeal their sentences, which ranged from eight months to one and a half years.

Speaking to RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Wednesday, defense lawyer Dang Dinh Manh said the 15 are not guilty of the charges made against them.

“They only held flags and banners, which read ‘Against the cybersecurity law and the law on special economic zones,’” Manh said.

“They simply expressed their opinions and did not disrupt public order. Our argument is that they are innocent,” he said.

Meanwhile, Manh and two other lawyers representing the 15 protesters appealing their sentences were attacked on Tuesday, two days before the scheduled hearing, by an object thrown at their car that shattered a window on the vehicle’s right side, the Vietnamese rights group Defend the Defenders said on Nov. 6.

Nationwide protests

The June 10 protest in Bien Hoa was one of several held in cities and provinces around the country over two days to express public opposition to the proposed law that would grant 99-year leases for the economic zones to foreign investors.

Many feared that the leases would be snapped up by investors from neighboring China, with which Vietnam has had tense bilateral relations in recent years, in part due to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Some of the demonstrations also focused on a proposed cybersecurity law that protesters said would limit free speech in one-party communist Vietnam, where dissent is rarely tolerated and public unrest is quickly suppressed.

About 100 people have been tried and convicted so far for their involvement in the protests, with more likely to be tried in coming weeks, Defend the Defenders said.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Comments (1)

Hate Communist

from ghet bac Ho

Not sure how the goons single out the 15 protesters. Why don't you goons go ahead and arrest everyone? Will that be better? No more little tyrants running amuck screaming for freedom!You can't for their loves one will rise up and that will be more voices and people protesting.
You can't win like this! However, you can win if only you'd listen and heed the people desires.

[This comment has been edited by RFA Editorial staff per our Terms of Use]

Nov 08, 2018 02:09 PM





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