On this day, seven years ago, the execution of death-row inmate Ho Duy Hai was temporarily suspended by the People’s Court of Long An Province. The deputy judge of the provincial People’s Court, Le Quang Hung, signed the decision to postpone his execution, approving an earlier request submitted to the Court by Hai’s family.
Ho Duy Hai was originally scheduled to be executed on December 5, 2014 - only one day before the decision. The postponement of Hai’s execution, however, did not mean he was going to be exonerated. As of today, Ho Duy Hai is still being imprisoned as a death-row inmate.
Hai was arrested and convicted of murder in 2008 in the Cau Voi Post Office incident in Long An Province, in which two women were robbed and killed.
Since then, there have been various suspicions regarding the evidence and proceedings of the case, such as the fact that Hai’s fingerprints did not match the fingerprints at the murder scene, or the fact that the alleged “murder weapon,” a knife, was found to have been purchased by the authorities.
In 2012, Vietnamese human rights defenders and freelance journalists joined with Ho Duy Hai’s family, trying to stop his execution. Activists prepared to protest on December 4, 2012 if the government would not halt its decision. They also involved international human rights organizations - such as Amnesty International - to save Hai’s life.
For the last seven years, Hai’s mother, Nguyen Thi Loan, made national press as she continued to advocate for her son’s innocence. In a recent interview, Loan talked about how she and her family were not allowed to meet Hai, and that he has been behind bars since 2008, despite the prosecution providing insufficient evidence.
There were various lawyers and politicians who spoke out about the irregularities of the case.
In 2015, Le Thi Nga, a National Assembly representative and deputy commissioner of the National Assembly’s Judicial Committee at the time, signed a 12-page report on Hai’s case, concluding that the prosecution did not provide enough evidence to convict him with the death penalty, and that the case should be revisited.
Ho Duy Hai vividly remains one of the faces of the wrongful death-row inmates in Vietnam that the world recognizes. Amnesty International continued to follow his case and ACAT-France also joined to call for his release with some campaigns in the last few years.
In 2020, the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam determined that the case suffered from “serious procedural proceedings” and requested a cassation trial for Ho Duy Hai. However, the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam reaffirmed the lower court’s decision and sentenced Ho Duy Hai to death again on May 8, 2020, denying the petition for a cassation trial.
The Ho Duy Hai case has been brought to the attention of the Vietnamese government multiple times.
In late June 2021, Ho Duy Hai’s lawyer also provided a new alibi for Hai, but what might happen in this case remains unknown.
Dân Việt. (2020, July 3). Ông Phan Đình Trạc: Ban Nội chính T.Ư nghiên cứu, tham mưu cho Ban Bí thư vụ án Hồ Duy Hải. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://danviet.vn/ong-phan-dinh-trac-ban-noi-chinh-tu-nghien-cuu-tham-muu-cho-ban-bi-thu-vu-an-ho-duy-hai-20200703155549285.htm
Le, T. N. (2015, February). Báo Cáo Kết Quả Nghiên Cứu Vụ Án Hồ Duy Hải Bị Kết Án Tử Hình Về Tội “Giết Người” Và Tội “Cướp Tài Sản” Tại Tỉnh Long An. https://www.documentcloud.org/app?q=%2Bproject%3Aho-duy-hai-bao-cao-doan-g-36526
Nguyen, J. (2021, June 30). A Spark Of Hope For Ho Duy Hai’s Family As New Alibi Emerges – The Vietnamese. The Vietnamese Magazine. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.thevietnamese.org/2021/06/a-spark-of-hope-for-ho-duy-hais-family-as-new-alibi-emerges/
Nguyen, W. (2019, December 2). After Decade of Petitions, Vietnam to Re-consider Case of Death Row Inmate Ho Duy Hai – The Vietnamese. The Vietnamese Magazine. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.thevietnamese.org/2019/12/after-decade-of-petitions/
N.N. (2019, December 9). Nhìn lại 12 năm toàn cảnh vụ án tử tù Hồ Duy Hải. Báo Điện Tử Pháp Luật Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://plo.vn/phap-luat/nhin-lai-12-nam-toan-canh-vu-an-tu-tu-ho-duy-hai-876107.html
Radio Free Asia. (2020, October 11). Tử tù Hồ Duy Hải được tạm hoãn thi hành án. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/news/vietnamnews/death-sentence-f-hoduyhai-reprieved-12042014093548.html