Protest letter against the death penalty in Vietnam by a…

The implementation of the death penalty in VN carries with it many forms of inhumanity. As the prisoners were held for years in solitary confinement, shackled and chained, the authorities carry out an insidious and purposeful deterrent policy of cruel damnation… making the incarcerated (and their families) living in endless agony that easily lead to suicide; as the execution by lethal injection in hope of a quick death has ceased due to the EU ban on the export of the lethal drugs cocktail).

FVPOC | Cập nhật 07/01/2015

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To: Responsible Vietnam governmental agencies

To: Collective fellow Vietnamese both in and outside of Vietnam

To: Various International Human Rights organizations

  1. Whereas:

– Since 1975, Vietnam is one of the countries that has carried out the most executions in the world, both against prisoners of war (under the government of South Vietnam), and prisoners of conscience, as well as for criminals. Many of the victims were innocent. However they all have met with painful death. There are ample evidence, documents and testimonies regarding these wrongful executions. According to the findings of the Vietnam Human Rights Network (which will be published in their upcoming 2014 report), there are 742 people in Vietnam who are awaiting execution; 162 people were executed in 2014 (as of September); 53 people were sentenced to death in 2014 (as of September). Recently there was a series of death penalty cases involving corruption, robberies, drug trafficking, which have stirred up an outcry and public opinions; and many death penalty verdicts were handed down wrongfully. This in turn has caused many families to seek redress of grievances for many years, while causing outrageous outcries in society, such are the cases of Han Duc Long (Bac Giang), Nguyen Van Chuong (Hai Duong), Ho Duy Hai (Long An) …

– Vietnam is under the reign of a totalitarian regime, with no separation of powers.  The judicial system is completely under the control of the Communist Party, designed to protect their rule. The police investigation practices of garnering points by applying arbitrary and selective enforcement, and their habitual cover-ups for the higher ups serve to carry out the regime’s biddings. Prosecutors and judges receiving bribes and their fear of going against the power that be would usually result in unfair trials, leading to serious injustice and might have led to the death penalty, trampling on the truth and justice, contrary to international standards on human rights. In addition, Decree No. 208/2013/ND-CP of the Government issued on December 17, 2013, which became effective on February 1, 2014, gives full authority to police to shoot on site people who are considered to”act against police officials duty” that is to prevent the uprising of the people fueled by their increasing demand for justice. In the current situation where many innocent citizens were killed after falling into police’s custody and their subsequent bloody and violent treatments causes public opinion to realize that the ruling Machine is increasingly showing signs of becoming more savage and ruthless.

– The implementation of the death penalty in VN carries with it many forms of inhumanity. As the prisoners were held for years in solitary confinement, shackled and chained, the authorities carry out an insidious and purposeful deterrent policy of cruel damnation… making the incarcerated (and their families) living in endless agony that easily lead to suicide; as the execution by lethal injection in hope of a quick death has ceased due to the EU ban on the export of the lethal drugs cocktail). The government has chosen to institute death by firing squad or by prolonging the agony of prisoners, causing them to writhe in extreme pain, as doctors would be invited to prison to assist with medical treatment but were forced to help carrying out lethal injection execution, which directly violates the professional and ethical commitment of their oath. With the implementation of an inhuman legislation by way of such inhumanity, Vietnam has notoriously encountered more difficulties diplomatically and incurred more damage to its reputation. (There have been many evidences on this issue).

– Humanity has now organized a World Day against the death penalty (which was established in October 10, 2003). The United Nations, many human rights organizations and established religions (who themselves speak out publicly against the destruction of lives) has called on the countries to quickly ban the death sentence, because it is a violation of the right to life, debasing human dignity, and going against any possible recovery, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (e. 3 and 5) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (e. 6 and 7). In addition, the number of countries who have abolished the death penalty is constantly increasing. Of the 193 members of the United Nations in 2012, there were 150 who have officially abolished or no longer carry out executions, with a total of 173 countries who have had no executions. (x. RFA November 8, 2013)

  1. Declaration

From the above statement, the undersigned civil society and political organizations irresolutely oppose the application of the death penalty in Vietnam Penal Code, for the following reasons:
a- The right to life (from the time the fetus is formed until human natural death) is the fundamental rights of all humans, and the preserve of the Supreme Creator, who alone has the power to create.

b- Justice,  the law and the courts are to preserve the social order and to protect innocent citizens, but also to educate the offending citizens, helping them to repent and rehabilitate but it is not the duty of these institution to take vengeance upon the transgressors and their families.

c- The death penalty therefore is the expression of the regime’s brutality, because it is a sign of the government poor social administration; demonstrating the failure of the law, because once a life is lost there is irreparable consequences. In addition, the death sentence has no effect in the fight against crime. In countries where capital punishment is abolished, there is no increase in crime, while in countries where capital punishment is maintained, crime did not decrease, but there is a marked declining sense of preserving precious human lives. This does not take into account all the injustice and wrongful punishments that have taken place everywhere from ancient to current jurisprudence that have caused many to die unjustly on death row.

d- Current civilized societies have the means to rectify more effectively the offenders of crimes which provide them respect and dignity and allowing them a chance for self-improvement and at the same time preventing public harm.

e- We request the authorities in Vietnam to immediately stop carrying out any death sentence that has been declared, and abolishing capital punishment for such crime as drug trafficking, printing counterfeit money (among the 22 offenses) and to quickly amend the Criminal Code to ban completely the “death”penalty.

Executed in Vietnam and overseas in January 6, 2015
Civil society and political organizations collectively sign:

Domestic

1- Bach Dang Giang Foundation. Representative: Phạm Bá Hải, MBE.

2- The Việt Nam Path. Representative: Mr. Hoàng Văn Dũng.

3- Civil Society Forum/Diễn Đàn Xã hội Dân sự: Representative: Dr. Nguyễn Quang A

4- The Church of Orthodox Cao đài. Representative: The lay leaders Hứa Phi, Kim Lân, and Bạch Phụng

5- The American-Việt Nam Affiliated Lutheran Church. Representative: Pastor Nguyễn Hoàng Hoa

6- The Mennonite Orthodox Church. Representative:  Pastor Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng

7- The Orthodox Hòa Hảo Buddhist Church. Representative: Elder Lê Quang Liêm, Messrs. Phan Tấn Hòa, Tống Văn Chính, Lê Văn Sóc.

8- The United Alliance of Workers and Peasants. Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Mai

9- The Việt Nam Friendship Association of Political and Religious Prisoners. Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Bắc Truyển

10- The Association of Democracy Brethren. Representative: Attorney Nguyễn Văn Đài

11- The Association to Protect Religious Freedom. Representative: Ms. Hà Thị Vân

12- The Mutual Association of Gourds and Squash. Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Lê Hùng

13- The Women Association of Human Rights. Representative: Bà Trần Thị Nga

14- The Church of Cattle Stall. Representative: Pastor. Lê Quang Du.

15- The Association of Former Prisoners of Conscience. Representative: Dr. Nguyễn Đan Quế.

16- Bloc 8406 Freedom and Democracy. Representative: Engineer Đỗ Nam Hải.

17-  Vietnam Bloggers Network. Representative: Ms. Nguyễn Hoàng Vi.

18- Father Nguyễn Kim Điền Group. Representative: Father Nguyễn Hữu Giải

19- The Solidarity Movement of the Wronged People. Representative: Mrs. Trần Ngọc Anh.

20- The Vietnam United Church of Buddhist Priests. Representative: Reverend Thích Không Tánh.

21- The Office of Justice and Peace DCCT Sài Gòn: Father Đinh Hữu Thoại.

          Overseas:

1- The Committee to Protect Freedom of Religion for Caodaism (U.S.A.). Representative: Hiền tài Nguyễn Thanh Liêm

2- The Radio Program for Bloc 8406 (U.S.A.). Representative: Mme. Aimée Hoàng Lam Hương

3- The Radio Program for Catholic Conscience, San Jose USA. Representative:  Cao Thị Tình

4- The Forum to Support Bloc 8406 & The Movement for Vietnam Democracy (Canada). Representative: Mr. Trần Ngọc Bính

5- The Vietnam-Sydney Radio (Úc châu). Representative: Mme. Bảo Khánh.

6- The France-Vietnam Mutual Assistance (AFVE, Paris). Representative: Mr. Bùi Xuân Quang.

7- The Overseas Association of United Workers and Peasants. Representative: Mr. Trương Quốc Việt

8- Bloc 1706 (Úc châu). Representative: Mr. Đoàn Kim

9- Bloc 1906 (Australia). Representative: Mr. Trần Hồng Quân

10- Bloc 8406 (U.S.A). Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Phú

11- Bloc 8406 (Europe). Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Phương Đông.

12- Bloc 8406 (Australia). Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Quang Duy.

13- The Internet & Telecommunication Warning System. Representative: Mr. Huỳnh Tâm

14- Vietnam Human Rights Network. Representative: Dr. Nguyễn Bá Tùng

15- Catholic Monthly Forum. Representative: Dr. Trần Văn Cảo

16- The Overseas Vietnamese Catholic Movement. Representative: Mr. Phạm Hồng Lam

17-The Women Action Movement to Save Vietnam. Representative: Mrs. Đặng Thị Danh

18- All Citizens to Save Vietnam Radio. Representative: Mrs.Trần Thị Hồng Khương

19- Radio – TV – Magazine for A Free Vietnam (Hoa Kỳ). Representative: Professor Vương Kỳ Sơn.

20- The Institute of Việtnam Human Rights. Representative: Mr. Nguyễn Quang

21- The Committee to Support Bloc 8406, New Orleans (U.S.A.). Representative: Professor Vương Kỳ Sơn.