Vietnam Jails 4 Would-be Asylum Seekers for Boat Trip to Australia
Members of the environmental group Greenpeace hold up a sign that reads "#LET THEM STAY" in a protest over Australia's refugee policies, Feb. 14, 2016.
Four refugees who were returned to Vietnam by Australia a year ago were sentenced to prison on Friday for their role in staging an attempt by their extended family to flee the country, RFA’s Vietnamese service has learned.
Tran Thi Thanh Loan was sentenced to 36 months in prison, while her husband Ho Trung Loi received 24 months. Tran Thi Lien was jailed for 36 months, and Nguyen Van Hai received 24 months, according to court documents seen by RFA.
They were tried and convicted by the local People’s Court in La Gi town in Binh Thuan province on charges they violated article 275 of Vietnam’s penal code, one of the laws Vietnam uses to combat human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
The four defendants were among 46 people who fled Vietnam by boat in March 2015. They were returned by boat from Australia in April of last year, and Loi and Hai were detained in July.
Tran Thi Thanh Loan and Tran Thi Lien were permitted to remain at home with their children after their sentencing.
“Maybe they let me stay at home because I don’t have my own house and because of my four children,” Tran Thi Thanh Loan told RFA on Friday.
Reported and translated by Viet Ha for RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Paul Eckert.