Global Freedom of Expression

The Case of Land Rights Petitioner Vu Thi Hai (Vietnam)

Closed Contracts Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Pamphlets / Posters / Banners
  • Date of Decision
    September 28, 2015
  • Outcome
  • Case Number
  • Region & Country
    Vietnam, Asia and Asia Pacific
  • Judicial Body
    First Instance Court
  • Type of Law
    Criminal Law

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

On June 9, 2015, Vu Thi Hai along with other land rights petitioners gathered in front of Vietnam’s National Assembly building in Hanoi in order to hand over her petition to lawmakers. Security officers later arrested her with some other petitioners. Hai was charged with causing public disorder under Article 245 of the country’s Penal Code. The prosecutor alleged that she had displayed protest banners outside the government offices from March to June 2015.

On September 28, 2015, in a closed-door trial, the People’s Court of Hanoi sentenced Hai to 18 months imprisonment for causing public disorder.

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression could not identify the official legal and government records on the case and that the information contained in this report was derived from secondary sources. It must be noted that media outlets may not provide complete information about this case. Additional information regarding this legal matter will be updated as an official source becomes available.


On June 9, 2014, Vu Thi Hai along with other land rights petitioners approached the building of the National Assembly in Hanoi in order to submit her grievance to lawmakers. Security forces arrested her with some other petitioners and took them to Ha Dong district where they were released later that day but Hai was charged with causing public disorder under Article 245 of the Vietnam’s Penal Code.

Pursuant to Article 245(1), “[t]hose who foment public disorder, causing serious consequences or who have been already administratively sanctioned for such act or sentenced for such offense, not yet entitled to criminal record remission but continue to commit such act, shall be sentenced to a fine of between one million dong and ten million dong, non-custodial reform for up to two years or between three months and two years of imprisonment.” The imprisonment can be up to seven years, if the offender commits an act enumerated under Section 2, such as “[c]ausing serious obstruction to traffic or cessation of public activities or “[i]nciting other persons to cause disorder.” The prosecutor alleged that “she had displayed protest banners outside central government offices from March to June.”

Decision Overview

On September 28, 2015, the People’s Court in Hanoi sentenced Hai to 18 months in prison for commission of public disorder.  Her son, Duing Van Tuyen, said that the defense lawyer was the only source of information for his mother’s trial. People were not allowed in the courtroom, even though the trial was set to be open to the public. Tuyen was later taken into custody along others who attempted to attend the trial.

According to Vietnam Human Rights Defenders, Hai is among many individuals facing severe sanctions in response to peaceful demands against illegal land seizure as “[n]umerous Vietnamese land petitioners have been arrested and charged with conducting public disturbance under Article 245 of the Penal Code.”

Decision Direction

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Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Contracts Expression

Global Perspective

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Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • Viet., Crim. Code art. 245

Case Significance

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Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

This case did not set a binding or persuasive precedent either within or outside its jurisdiction. The significance of this case is undetermined at this point in time.

Official Case Documents

Reports, Analysis, and News Articles:

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