A Vietnam court on Friday sentenced a former police captain to two years in prison for “resisting law enforcement” after he quarreled with police as they towed his car, his lawyer told RFA.
Police in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City seized former Captain Le Chi Thanh’s car on April 14, 2021, for occupying a lane reserved for two-wheeled vehicles. After an exchange of words, the police arrested him.
“In my opinion, it is a really harsh verdict,” his lawyer Dang Dinh Manh told RFA’s Vietnamese service.
“His actions were not exactly opposition to the police officers. The police had to tow his car to the station and he just came up with suggestions and suggestions to protect the condition of the car and keep it safe. So the charge is unjustified,” Manh said.
Le Chi Thanh had been serving in Han Tan Prison in the southern coastal province of Binh Thuan. He was fired in July 2020 for accusing his superior of corruption. Afterwards, he became an active user of social media and often livestreamed videos that monitored the traffic police.
While Thanh was detained, he told his lawyer that he was being tortured.
“They said he did not approach the guards properly and tried to hurt himself, so they had to ‘put him to himself,'” Manh said.
Thanh now faces yet another charge of “abuse of democracy and freedom to infringe the interests of the state” under Article 331 of Vietnam’s Criminal Code. Human rights activists say the section of the law is often used by authorities to stifle disagreement.
Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Eugene Whong.