Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vietnam jails officials over land eviction case

Fisher farmer Doan Van Vuon (second left, front row) and his family members stand trial at a local People's Court House in the northern coastal city of Haiphong, 2 April 2013
Vietnam has jailed a former official for destroying the home of a farmer who won public support for resisting eviction from state-owned land.

Nguyen Van Khanh, who was deputy chairman of the district where the incident took place, received two-and-a-half years in jail.

Four other officials, including his boss, received suspended jail terms.

The farmer, Doan Van Vuon, received a five-year jail term last week for using weapons to defend his fish farm.

Three of Mr Vuon's relatives were also found guilty of attempted murder last week for injuring several police officers in January 2012. They were given jail terms of between two and five years each.

Their case had attracted attention and popular support, as farmers resorting to violence to protect land in Vietnam is rare.

Land rights are a contentious issue in Vietnam, where the Communist government owns all land and usage rights are unclear.

The Land Law, in effect since 1993, stipulates that households and individuals are entitled to land rights for a "limited period" of 20 years. After that, subject to availability and other factors, local governments will decide whether the time can be extended.-British Broadcasting Corporation (April 10, 2013)

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