국제앰네스티는 민주화 운동을 하다 체포돼 감옥에 갇힌 양심수들의 ‘즉각적이고 무조건적인 석방’을 베트남 정부에 요구했다.
인터넷 회사 사장 트란 후엔 다이 두크(Tran Huynh Duy Thuc)를 비롯해, IT 기술자 응구엔 티엔 트룽(Nguyen Tien Trung), 유명 변호사 르에콩 딘츠(Le Cong Dinh), 회사원 르에 땅 롱(Le Thang Long)은 비민주적인 국가를 비판하는 문서를 작성하고 블로그와 이메일을 통해 유포했다는 혐의로 체포됐다.
하루 종일 계속된 재판에서 호치민 지방 법원은 이들에게“(이들의) 활동이 인민정부(the people’s administration)를 전복시키려는 목적을 갖는다”는 이유를 들어 유죄를 선고하고, 5년에서 16년 형을 선고 했다.
국제앰네스티 베트남 담당 조사관인 브리티스 에드먼(Brittis Edman)은 “이들은 혐의를 받거나 형을 언도받는 고사하고, 절대 체포돼서도 안 되는 사람들”이라고 지적했다.
또한 재판부가 피고인들에 대해 의미 없는 변호를 허락한 것에 대해, “이는 언론 자유와 평화적인 반대 의사 표명에 대한 (베트남 사법 당국의) 관용이 결여돼있음을 명백하게 보여주는 것이고, 동시에 재판부의 독립성이 결여됐음을 증명하는 것이다” 라고 말했다.
Vietnamese dissidents’ trial a mockery of justice
Amnesty International has called for the immediate and unconditional release of four Vietnamese prisoners of conscience jailed on Wednesday for their peaceful pro-democracy activism.
In a trial lasting one day, a court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted the four dissidents of “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” and sentenced them to between five and 16 years in prison.
“These people should never have been arrested in the first place, let alone charged and sentenced. The trial allowed no meaningful defense for the accused, demonstrating all too clearly the lack of tolerance for free speech and peaceful dissent, and the court’s lack of independence,” said Brittis Edman, Amnesty International’s Viet Nam researcher.
The sentences come against a backdrop of escalating repression against critics of the government. A new wave of arrests began in May 2009, targeting independent lawyers, bloggers and pro-democracy activists critical of government policies. Over 30 prisoners of conscience remain behind bars after unfair trials.
The court convicted Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 43, a former internet company owner and businessman, to 16 years’ imprisonment and five years of house arrest upon release. IT engineer and blogger Nguyen Tien Trung, 26, was sentenced to seven years in prison, while prominent lawyer Le Cong Dinh, 41, and businessman Le Thang Long, 42, each received five year sentences.
Last month, the prosecution decided to change the original charges from Article 88, “conducting propaganda” against the state, to the more serious Article 79, “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.”
“The trial made a complete mockery of justice, disregarding fundamental human rights such as the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to defense”, said Brittis Edman. The prosecution gave no evidence to support the indictment, and the judges deliberated for only 15 minutes before returning with the judgment, which took 45 minutes to read and clearly had been prepared in advance of the hearing. Family members, diplomats and journalists observed the trial from an adjacent room through a video link. Many had been turned away, including several family members of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc. The trial also shows the urgent need to reform the serious short-comings of the 1999 Penal Code, the vague provisions of which criminalize peaceful dissent, contrary to Viet Nam’s obligations under international law.
Article 79 Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration, says that:
Those who carry out activities, establish or join organizations with intent to overthrow the people’s administration shall be subject to the following penalties: • Organizers, instigators and active participants or those who cause serious consequences shall be sentenced to between 12 and 20 years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment;• Other accomplices shall be subject to between five and 15 years of imprisonment.