The Hanoi People’s Court on March 27 rejected the appeals of eight defendants found guilty of disturbing public order and destroying property at the compound of the Chien Thang Garment Joint Stock Company at 178 Nguyen Luong Bang street and upheld the sentences given to them at a lower court.
Accordingly, Nguyen Thi Nhi, 47, from Kon Tum province, was the most strictly dealt with, punished to a 15-month suspended sentence.
Ngo Thi Dung, 55, and Le Quang Kien, also 55, were given 13-month suspended sentences; Nguyen Thi Viet, 50, was issued a 12- month suspended sentence, all were charged with destroying property and disturbing public order.
52 year-old Le Thi Hoi, Pham Chi Nang, 51, and Nguyen Dac Hung, 32, were placed under probation from between 12 and 15 months.
A warning was retained for 22-year-old Thai Thanh Hai, according to the original verdicts handed down by the Dong Da district court on December, 8, 2008.
According to the original court, and based on Vietnam’s land law and other decisions of the authorised agencies with jurisdiction over the property at 178 Nguyen Luong Bang street, the area is under state management and has been allocated to the Chien Thang garment company.
However, on August 15, 2008, the defendants destroyed a 6m section of the company’s surrounding wall, and cleared the ground for hundreds of others to pitch tents and hold prayers, pressuring the authorities to return the land to the Thai Ha parish.
From August 26-28, Nhi also called on six other women to strike gongs to incite prayers to be held in the area.
The original court ruled that the defendants were guilty of disorderly conduct and property damage, and incited numerous others to protest for several days, thus breaking the law, violating public order, and impacting national unity.
However, the original court also said it went easy on the accused, because they were influenced by misinformation that the original ownership of the property had been their religious order, and had been instigated by others into breaking the law; it also noted their limited legal knowledge.