Three face death in Vietnam major drug trial

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Prosecutors proposed death sentences for three people and life sentences for seven others as a major drug trafficking trial got underway in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on Tuesday.

They suggested to the court that Nguyen Van Dua, 43, Le Duc May, 38, and Nguyen Thi Hao, 37 are deserving of capital punishment.

Dua is charged with selling more than seven kilos of heroin, while May and Hao allegedly sold nearly 7.4 kilos and 10 kilos of the substance respectively. Dua had been dismissed from Hanoi police due to his involvement in a property appropriation scam before he got involved in drug trafficking.

Life sentences were recommended for Hao's mother Vu Thi Xuyen, 60, and brother Nguyen Dang Binh, 34, as well as for Bui Thi Bich Phuong, 48, her husband Nguyen Thanh Binh, Le Thi Mo, 42, Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy, 49 and her husband Nguyen Dang Lap, 51.

They either sold less amount of heroin or helped other ring members to do so, investigators found.

Prosecutors said the ten members had to be punished strictly as their acts were "serious" and "affected social order."

They suggested jail terms between 7-20 years and cash fines of VND10-300 million (US$522-15,700) for other members in the ring. One of them, Nguyen Cong Vien, Mo's husband, has been sentenced to death by Son La People's Court in nearby Son La Province.

The prosecutors suggested sentences ranging from two-year probations to eight years in jail for several former officials including Le Trung Tien, 56, former provincial prosecutor, Dinh Thi Hoa, 55, former judge of the province People's Court, and former Thai Nguyen police officers Luong Tuan Anh, 43, and Nguyen Anh Dung, 52. They were found to have taken bribes of VND8-83 million.

The inter-provincial drug trafficking started in June 2004 and was discovered in February 2006.

A final decision on the penalties is expected to be announced on March 29.

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