The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement in Berlin on 25 October on the execution of Le Van Manh scheduled for Monday, 26 October 2015.
I call on the Vietnamese authorities to halt the execution of Le Van Manh and to reopen his trial. There are doubts as to his guilt, which must be assessed at a fair hearing.
Irrespective of this, I call on Viet Nam to impose a general moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Viet Nam is a member of the UN Human Rights Council and has signed numerous UN human rights conventions. It should join the large majority of the world’s countries in finally putting an end to capital punishment once and for all.
The death penalty has no place in the 21st century and the Federal Government will continue to push for its worldwide abolition.
In 2005, Le Van Manh was sentenced to death for murder and rape. There are doubts as to the verdict and the constitutionality of the criminal proceedings, however. Human rights organisations and press reports have repeatedly pointed out that Le Van Manh’s guilt has not been proved at all and that his confession, which he later retracted, had been made under torture. They are calling for his trial to be reopened. Le Van Manh continues to claim his innocence.
Estimates put the number of people currently on death row in Viet Nam at around 600.