Harsh Sentence for Vietnamese Youth in Land Clash

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A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison following a violent clash over land evictions at his village near Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Mai Trung Tuan was accused of intentionally inflicting injury on law officers, who had come to evict his extended family from their farmland in Long An Province in April.

His lawyer and human rights activists condemned the sentence as far too harsh for a minor.

It was one of series of confrontations over land seizures across Vietnam, where farmers have accused the local authorities of paying too little compensation, and of making huge profits from the sale of land to developers.

Tuan was accused of violent resistance. Photo courtesy of the Thanh Nien.

12 members of the family were arrested and jailed after the incident, but Tuan managed to get away and was on the run until his arrest in August.

An appeal court today upheld the sentence of 3 years and 6 months imposed on his mother, Mai Thi Kim Huong, but reduced the 3 year term for his grandfather to a suspended sentence.

Tuan’s 13-year-old sister was granted bail and is the only member of the family to escape time in jail.

The family were accused of arming themselves with makeshift weapons, including bombs, mines and gas canisters, to resist eviction officers carrying out a land seizure on behalf of the local government.

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