Former police captain Le Chi Thanh was sentenced to three years in prison for defaming deputy minister of Public Security

Mr. Le Chi Thanh in the trial in April 2022

This was the second sentence for the former police captain.

On June 22, the People’s Court of Ham Tan district, Binh Thuan province, opened a trial against Mr. Le Chi Thanh, a former police captain who was an officer at Ham Tan prison camp.

Mr. Thanh was charged under the crime of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals” according to Article 331 of the Criminal Code.

At the end of the trial, former captain Le Chi Thanh was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

According to lawyer Dang Dinh Manh, who defended the defendant at today’s trial, the prosecution relied on videos previously posted by Mr. Thanh on Facebook as evidence against him:

The prosecution agency relied on clips allegedly made by Mr. Le Chi Thanh himself, and posted on the social network Facebook with content that was ‘distorted and untrue’ infringing on state agencies such as courts, the police, a deputy minister of public security, and an individual who is his former supervisor.”

Mr. Thanh’s former supervisor is Colonel Le Ba Thuy, chief of Ham Tan prison, who was accused by Mr. Thanh of committing corruption.

According to the online outlet Vnexpress, the former prison police said that Colonel Le Ba Thuy – Superintendent of Z30D Prison, had a lot of land and properties worth tens of billions of dong from an unknown source, and asked the Central Party Committee of Public Security and Government’s Inspectorate check and confiscate the assets from corruption.

However, the police said that Mr. Thuy and his wife only had a house in Tan Duc commune, Ham Tan district and the rest the family bought in An Phu ward, Thu Duc city (HCMC) in 2014 with money accumulated from wages, livestock farming, and grocery trading.

The trial panel also said that Mr. Thanh said in a video posted on Facebook that the content mentioned that a deputy minister of Public Security abused his power to discipline Thanh was misleading and untrue.

Due to his denounciation against his supervisor, police captain Le Chi Thanh was disciplined by the Prison Management Department (Ministry of Public Security) and expelled from police in July 2020.

After being kicked out of police, Mr. Le Chi Thanh became an active person on social networks, making live broadcasts about monitoring the activities of the traffic police force.

On April 14, 2021, he was arrested under the charge of “resisting on-duty state officials” and later sentenced to 2 years in prison by the Thu Duc city court in January 2022.

With the new sentence, Mr. Le Chi Thanh is currently serving two sentences at the same time with a total of 5 years in prison.

Commenting on the results of the trial, lawyer Dang Dinh Manh said that although the sentence that Mr. Thanh received today lighter than the application trend of Article 331, but:

My view has always been against using articles such as 331 or 117 in the Criminal Code. Because, I think it goes against the freedom of speech that Article 25 of the Constitution provides.

In case the statements unjustly affect the reputation, honor and dignity of agencies, organizations and individuals, they shall have the right to initiate civil lawsuits to request compensation for damage and it is enough. This is also consistent with the treatment of many countries in the region and around the world.”

And Mrs. Le Thi Phu, the mother of former police captain Le Chi Thanh, said that he would not file an appeal, instead she would continue to lobby the high-level police agency to reduce her son’s imprisonment. (Translated)

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