Vietnam may grant criminal suspects bail

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The Ministry of Justice is collecting public opinion on a new draft regulation that would grant suspects of certain crimes bail until they are convicted.

Under the draft, suspects are allowed to pay between VND10 and 300 million (US$473-14,200) in cash, jewelry or gold in order to go free during investigations, trials and appeals.

According to the ministry, the regulation is not applicable for suspects of every kind of crime. Those who are accused of crimes related to national security, or serious offenses involving drugs, robbery and kidnaping, among others, would be denied bail.

The draft asks related agencies to consider the severity of the suspects' crimes, their criminal records and financial capacity before granting bail.

The ministry said other ministries and agencies have agreed to the draft.

In an interview with the Viet Quality news website, run by the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality, Le Cao, a law expert from the Da Nang-based FDVN Law Firm, said the current Law on Criminal Procedures, which was issued in 2003, already had stipulations regarding bail. But due to the lack of instructions the regulation was almost never applied, he said.

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