Inmates' terms extended after prison riot in southern Vietnam prison

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Eighteen prisoners from Xuan Loc Prison in Dong Nai Province on trial Friday. Their jail terms were extended by between one and eleven years after allegedly participating in riot in June. Photo by Le Lam

Eighteen inmates at a prison in Dong Nai Province's Xuan Loc District had their prison terms extended by between one and eleven years for their involvement in a large-scale riot in June.

After a two-day hearing, the Xuan Loc People's Court on December 27 sentenced them for "resisting people performing official duties" and/or "destroying or deliberately damaging property."

According to the indictment, the prison officers organized a football match at around 6:30 a.m. on June 30.

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Nguyen Van Tan, Pham Ngoc Huong and Le Quoc Thanh together mapped out a plan to use weapons to attack the prison officers to demand that they be transferred to another prison, VOV news website reported.

Tan and some other inmates had hidden iron clubs and about 40 rocks under a drainage ditch behind their cells to use as weapons in the attack, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

At around 8:30 a.m., the trio threw rocks at officers who were on guard duty. The inmates screamed and enticed dozens of other prisoners to join in.

The officers fired some warning shots and persuaded the prisoners to stop, but the rioting prisoners continued to attack them with iron clubs, wooden bars and rocks.

According to Tuoi Tre, one officer was injured in the eye and shoulder.

The prison head tried to persuade the prisoners to come back to their cells but failed.

The prisoners locked the main gate with zinc wires, smashed tree pots and threw the broken pieces and rocks towards the officers who had run out of the main gate.

Some also broke open cells to released 19 fellow prisoners. Nguyen Van Thuy burned the stage curtain in the hall.

The total losses they caused were over VND335 million (US$15,745).

The brawl was quelled by Ministry of Public Security's General Department No.8, which oversees the prison, and Dong Nai police at around 2 p.m.

Among the defendants, Tan and Thuy got the highest additional terms with 11 years, while the rest were sentenced to one to 10 years and a half in prison.

Thuy will have to compensate the prison to the tune of more than VND280 million.

Nguyen Van Tuan, who was already serving a life sentence, got three years each for "resisting people performing official duties" and "intentional vandalism."

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