Vietnam jails fish farmer who fought land grab

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A FISH farmer who became a cult hero in Vietnam after fighting off an illegal eviction with homemade guns and mines has been jailed for five years for attempted murder in a case that has stirred public anger over state-backed land grabs.

Doan Van Vuon, two of his brothers and one nephew, were given jail terms of between two and five years for injuring seven police and soldiers in northern Haiphong last January, state media reported yesterday. Two of their wives received suspended sentences of 15 to 18 months for resisting officials.

Land grabs, both legal and illegal, are a major source of public discontent with the state in Communist Vietnam, which owns all the country’s land.

State television showed footage this week of the courtroom displaying the cooking gas cylinders, electrical cables and steel pipes Vuon and his relatives used for bombs and handguns.

The authorities in Haiphong have admitted their eviction was unlawful, and several officials face trial next week.

Tran Dinh Trien, a defence lawyer in the trial, said Vuon had no intention of causing harm and had exercised all legal means to protect his land before his display of resistance.