Comment by UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Jeremy Laurence on imminent execution in Viet Nam


We are very concerned by reports about the imminent execution by Viet Nam of Nguyen Van Chuong amid serious allegations of torture and fair trial violations. We call on the authorities to immediately halt the execution, and to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture.

Nguyen Van Chuong is accused of murdering a police officer on 14 July 2007. He was arrested some three weeks later and over the course of the trial and post-conviction proceedings since has been in continued detention for 16 years. Nguyen Van Chuong has consistently maintained his innocence and asserted that the police obtained his confession through torture. The confession was reportedly admitted as evidence and used to convict him.

The use of confessions extracted under torture that results in a death sentence violates both the absolute prohibition of torture as well as fair trial guarantees, rendering the sentence arbitrary and a violation of the right to life, as set out in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Viet Nam is a state party.

Nguyen Van Chuong’sfamily received a notice from the People’s Court of Hai Phong on 4 August 2023 informing them of the Court’s decision to proceed with the execution. No further information, including the date of the execution, has since been shared.

Viet Nam continues to use the death penalty, largely in secret, despite a global trend towards abolishing capital punishment. We remind the authorities that sufficient transparency and full respect for the rights of prisoners and their families is a minimum requirement for governments that have not yet abolished capital punishment. Essential information relevant to a specific planned execution should be promptly provided to the prisoner and to their family, while information regarding death sentences, notifications and executions should also be made publicly available.

Moreover, we urge the Government to immediately establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view to fully abolishing the death penalty.

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