Senator Ngo slams bogus sentences laid against 29 residents of Dong Tam Village
[For immediate release]- September 15, 2020
Today, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo issued the following Statement in response to the arrest and trumped-up charges laid against 29 residents of Dong Tam commune, Hanoi, Vietnam:
These charges and subsequent ‘show trial’ (plagued by legitimate procedural concerns) come as a result of what can only be qualified as a deadly ‘land grab’ which took place on January 9th, 2020, involving a coordinated effort by Hanoi police and Government taskforces (approximately 3,000 officers). The sudden and illegal raid on the Village, resulting in the confiscation of 125 acres of farmland, claimed the life of Dong Tam Village Leader, Le Dinh Kinh, aged 84 and three police officers. The brutal attack also left many residents severely injured, which included women and children.
On September 14, 2020, a court in Hanoi sentenced Le Dinh Kinh’s sons to death, Messrs. Le Dinh Cong and Le Dinh Chuc, while the rest were handed down sentences ranging from life in prison, 2 to 18 years, and fifteen months’ probation, in the trial of the 29 villagers, whose only “crime” was to defend their right to receive adequate compensation for their land. These deliberately exaggerated sentences (grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offences), are merely a ‘show of force’ by Vietnam’s ruling Communist party to dissuade future communities from expressing any form of objection to meagre compensation for the government’s regular land confiscations destined for lucrative real-estate projects.
I categorically and unequivocally condemn the outrageous “Dong Tam Massacre” and the blatant attack on the rule of law, the right to defend one’s land and property, freedom of expression and the right to protest. I call on the government of Canada to apply Magnitsky sanctions against public officials (or their associates) from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam responsible for or complicit in perpetrating gross violations of human rights. It is high time for Canada to go beyond the rhetoric and take decisive action.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo
BBC.com: Dong Tam case: Two sentenced to death in Vietnam over police killings
RFA.org: Two Get Death as Dong Tam Violent Land Dispute Trial Ends in Vietnam
BBC.com: Dong Tam village: Anger in Vietnam over deadly ‘land grab’ raid