Saturday, January 08, 2005

Plain clothes proposed for defendants

A resolution was introduced to Vietnam’s National Assembly at its 24th session in Hanoi Dec. 22, to allow defendants to wear normal clothes at trials in criminal courts. This will “guarantee human rights,” said Le Quang Binh, head of the NA Standing Committee’s Dept. fo People’s Aspirations. “When a defendant appears in court wearing prison uniforms and is photographed, his photos could be in the newspaers. This would cause a real problem if the defendant is then sentenced to probation or released,” added Vu Duc Khiem, director of the NA Committee of Law. Presently this situation is inconsistent: while detainees wear prison clothes, those who can afford bail – many of them senior officials – appear in normal clothes. The consensus among committee members was that all defendants, except those already serving prison sentences, should be allowed to wear normal clothes in criminal court. ( Dec. 23, Labor Dec. 23, Vietnam News Briefs Dec. 23). (Note: at this writing I do not know that the resolution actually passed, but it is likely to have been approved.)


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