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Commutation of gambling ring leader’s sentence shows signs of abuse of power: lawyers

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Lawyers have decried the early release of Phan Sao Nam, who was found guilty of masterminding an online gambling ring, from jail. They have called for the law enforcement agencies to determine possible signs of abuse of power among some officials at the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Court.

The People’s High Court in Hanoi recently announced the cancellation of Nam’s commutation issued by the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Court. He was sentenced to five years in jail term in 2019 for organizing illegal gambling and laundering money.

The People’s High Court ordered Nam to come back to prison and serve the remaining 22 months plus.

According to the People’s High Court’s panel of justices, the Quang Ninh court’s commutation decision lacks legal merit.

Commenting on the issue, lawyer Nguyen Minh Long at the Hanoi Bar Association cited Clause 2, Article 71 of the 2019 Law on Criminal Judgement Execution, saying that within three working days since the date the cancellation of the commutation takes effect, the district-level criminal judgment enforcement agencies, and those at the military zone-level or above have to inform individuals directly affected by the commutation cancellation.

Within seven days of announcing the cancellation of a commutation, the people affected by the decision must show up at the criminal judgment enforcement agencies to complete the remaining sentence. Or else they will be escorted or wanted.

Long added that people with serious disease(s) could delay serving the remaining sentence until they recover. Besides, if the breadwinner of a disadvantaged family has to serve a jail sentence, he/she would be allowed to delay it for one year, except for those who violate regulations on national security or commit other serious crimes.

Echoing this viewpoint, Tran Van Do, former deputy chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court, said Nam would have to be brought back to prison to serve the remaining jail term once the People’s High-level Court’s cassation decision takes effect.

According to lawyer Hoang Trong Giap, director of the Hoang Sa law firm, aside from enforcing the judgment against Nam, competent agencies have to clarify the wrongdoings of some leaders of the Quang Ninh People’s Court for issuing a commutation to Nam without legal merit. These leaders showed signs of abusing power while performing official duties as regulated under Article 356 of the Criminal Code, Giap said.

In addition to Phan Sao Nam, former chairman of VTC Online JSC, another key figure of the gambling ring, Nguyen Van Duong, former chairman of the members’ council of the Hi-tech Security Development and Investment Company, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

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