In the War on Wildlife and Forest Crime rangers are risking and losing their lives in Asia and Africa, Rhino populations are plummeting and Vietnam’s criminal rhino horn smuggling Kingpin is fined only $440 and might be set free again as early as May 2018. The sentence must be appealed and a powerful message sent across the world.
See the message from Education For Nature Vietnam below.
“Dear Friends & Supporters
This week hasn’t been a good one for wildlife. First, we had the not totally unexpected death of Sudan, the last male Northern White rhino. His demise is literally the end of the line for this sub species of rhino, with only two of his daughters remaining alive.
But this bitter blow was quickly followed up by another barely 24 hours later. For after the much delayed trial of wildlife kingpin, Nguyen Mau Chien, a court in Hanoi finally passed sentence in this breakthrough case. However, the bench imposed a hugely disappointing jail term of 13 months and a fine of 10 million VND ($440).
As Nguyen Mau Chien (above) has been in prison since his arrest in April 2017 on charges including the smuggling of 36kg of rhino horn, he will now serve only two months more behind bars.
ENV, though, are determined to do all in our power to ensure this isn’t the end of the story. We are pressing the authorities hard to appeal the leniency of the sentence. The higher court and prosecutors in this case now have 30 days to appeal the sentence and seek a jail term that more closely fits the seriousness of the crime. The maximum prison sentence for this type of offense is five years for each crime, trafficking and possession.
ENV is concerned that if the 13 month sentence is allowed to stand, it will send out completely the wrong message both domestically and internationally. The Nguyen Mau Chien case is a landmark for Vietnam and it is vital that the punishment is in keeping with the gravity of the offense and acts as a proper deterrent to others.
Given the parlous state of rhinos in the wild – a situation caused by consumer demand for rhino horn in Vietnam and China – it’s crucial that Vietnam imposes a suitably lengthy sentence not only to deter potential offenders but also to demonstrate that Vietnam is genuinely concerned about the illegal wildlife trade and the massively adverse impact Vietnamese citizens are having on the world’s biodiversity.
The current trial outcome rather begs the question that if a man suspected of controlling an international criminal network behind the industrial-scale plundering of Africa’s wildlife attracts a sentence of only 13 months, what type of offense warrants the maximum sentence?
Please be assured we are on the case and will push relentlessly to have Nguyen Mau Chien’s sentence increased. We will keep you updated.
Many thanks for your continuing support.
International Communications Editor
Animal rescue appeal: https://goo.gl/PcDVqQ