The death penalty in Vietnam – help for Nguyễn Văn Chưởng – support petition!

While more and more countries are moving away from the death penalty, there are still countries that not only adhere to it, but also implement it rigorously and disproportionately. One of these countries is Vietnam.

For many years, it was virtually impossible to obtain information about the use of the death penalty in Vietnam. The public was told no numbers, no names, no execution dates. The government classified the statistics as “state secrets.”

in 2017, under international pressure for the first time in many years, the Vietnamese government released figures stating that from 2013 to 2016, no less than 429 people were executed and 1134 death sentences were handed down.

This puts Vietnam among the countries that carry out the most death sentences in the world.

Problems of the Vietnamese legal system

The government is accused of a lack of transparency in the legal system, many wrongful convictions resulting from unfair trials, and that defense lawyers have inadequate access to their clients.

In the one-party state of Vietnam, the judiciary is not independent. Judges are invariably members of the Communist Party and are under great political pressure.

Conditions on Vietnam’s death rows are inhumane and cruel. Prisoners do not learn their execution date in advance, so they begin each day with the fear that they will be executed today.

Nguyễn Văn Chưởng, now 40, has lived with this fear for many years.

He was sentenced to death in 2008 for robbing and killing a police officer in July 2007.

Arguments for possible innocence

Nguyễn Văn Chưởng denies all charges. He told his family that he was tortured during interrogations to make him confess.

Several residents of his village can confirm that he was 40 km from the crime scene at the time, but under pressure and after being mistreated by police, some of them have retracted their statements.

Legal counsel Le Van Hoa, who reviewed Nguyễn Văn Chưởng’s case in 2013, found numerous inconsistencies and procedural violations. Traces at the crime scene were inconsistent, injuries to the victim did not match the murder weapons, witnesses gave contradictory statements, and Nguyễn Văn Chưởng’s alibi was never verified.

Since then, Nguyễn Văn Chưởng’s family and lawyers have been sending petitions to the courts, across all instances, seeking a review of the verdict. So far, however, without success.

Nguyễn Văn Chưởng confirmed to his family during a visit that he had been informed of his pending execution, but that there was no execution date yet.

Prevent execution

Nguyễn Văn Chưởng and his family now need all the support they can get.

Amnesty International has launched a petition to stop the imminent execution.


you can find not only all relevant information about the case, but also a letter to be sent to Võ Văn Thưởng, President of Vietnam, and Mr. Vu Quang Minh, Ambassador of Vietnam in Berlin.

Please help to prevent the execution of Nguyễn Văn Chưởng!

Karin Rück
German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

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