The Appeal Court of the Supreme People’s Court on July 30 announced the sentences given to six defendants charged with “ murder and resisting on-duty officials” in relation to a case of coercive land reclamation in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

The court rejected the appeals of Doan Van Vuon – said to be the ringleader – and his brother Doan Van Quy. They were each sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for murder.

Thanks to mitigating circumstances, Doan Van Sinh received a sentence of two years and nine months in prison, nine months less than that of the original verdict. Doan Van Ve got 19 months in prison, a five month reduction.

Pham Thi Bau and Nguyen Thi Thuong were granted suspended sentences of 18 months and 15 months respectively.

Before the jury retired to consider its verdict, the accused admitted their guilt and explained the cause of their crimes.

According to the statement presented by the Hai Phong People’s Procuracy at the April 5 trial, on October 4, 1993, Tien Lang district People’s Committee allocated 21 hectares of coastal wetlands to Vuon for aquaculture purposes for up to 14 years.

Vuon then encroached farther into the sea by an additional area of 19.3 hectares. This earned him a district administrative fine along with the right to continue cultivating the encroached land until October 4, 2007.

On April 7 in 2009, the Tien Lang district People’s Committee issued Decision 461/QD-UBND to take back the aforementioned plot citing its usage expiry.

Disagreeing with this decision, Vuon brought the case to court, which upheld the above Decision 461.

On November 24, 2011, the People’s Committee issued Decision No. 3307/QD-UBND to implement Decision 461, but Vuon refused to comply.

Vuon, Quy, Sinh, Ve and Doan Van Thoai and Pham Thai erected defence fences, planted self-made mines and used home-made guns to fire at those executing the decision, injuring seven officials.

Thuong and Bau were found to be directly involved in erecting defence fences and other activities to make it easier for the above accused to launch attacks against the law enforcement officers.-VNA