Hike sentence

Vietnam upholds 2-year sentence of ex-police officer for traffic issues — Radio Free Asia

An appeals court in Vietnam has upheld the two-year sentence of a former policeman arrested last year for “resisting officers on official duty” during a traffic problem.

Le Chi Thanh was once an officer at Han Tan prison in the southern coastal province of Binh Thuan. He was fired in July 2020 after accusing his supervisor of corruption. Afterwards, he became an active social media user, often posting live videos watching traffic police.

Ho Chi Minh City police seized his car on March 2, 2021 for occupying a lane reserved for two-wheeled vehicles. He argued with the police and recorded and broadcast the exchange live.

He was arrested on April 14, 2021 for his March 2 actions.

The High Level People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the two-year sentence Thanh received in January.

Thanh’s lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, told RFA’s Vietnam Service that he presented new evidence – medals and certificates Thanh had received while a police officer – during the appeal trial.

“The prosecution accepted the medals as mitigating circumstances and offered to reduce his prison sentence by six months,” he said.

“However, in the end, the jury said they decided to uphold the first verdict because it was proper and accurate. Therefore, there was no reason to reduce it,” Manh said.

The lawyer also said that his client was in better shape during the appeal trial than during the first trial. Thanh was unable to walk alone in January. His lawyer and family claimed at the time that he had been tortured while in pretrial detention.

In its new 2021 Vietnam Human Rights Report, the US State Department said Thanh was arrested “for resisting a law enforcement officer in what international human rights monitors the man called retaliation for exposing systemic corruption on his YouTube channel” and that “Thanh, who was fired in July 2020, criticized what he called a ‘culture of corruption within the prison system’ .

A day before the appeal trial, Vietnamese state media also reported that Thanh had also been prosecuted for “abusing the rights to freedom and democracy to violate the interests of the state and the legitimate interests of organizations and individuals” during his videos broadcast live on social networks.

Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Eugene Whong.