House debates merits, demerits of execution methods

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A more humane execution method that is also a deterrent against future crimes legislators were divided on how these aims could be achieved in tandem as the lethal injection vs. firing squad debate raged during last week's parliamentary session.

"Injection of poison causes less pain to people being executed and their bodies stay intact. It costs less, and reduces psychological pressure on the executors," said the National Assembly Standing Committee on May 24.

The draft, planned to take effect early next year, is scheduled to be voted for approval by legislators on June 17.

Deputy Le Thi Nga of Thai Nguyen Province, also Vice Chairwoman of the Judicial Committee, argued for the replacement of the firing squad with the lethal injection saying it would not impact the deterrent factor.

"The deterrence is shown directly in the death sentence, not the execution method," she said.

Deputy Tran Ba Thieu, director of Hai Phong City Police Department, agreed with Nga. "Injection of poison is the most humane way for the criminals and also the best way for the people carrying out the execution," he said.

The lethal injection method was also backed by many other deputies, including Nguyen Huu Nhon of Dong Thap Province, Nguyen Van Tuyet of Yen Bai Province and Le Van Hung of Hung Yen Province.

However, several deputies opposed the proposal, insisting that the firing squad carried a higher deterrence factor.

Pham Xuan Thuong of Thai Binh Province said criminals have engaged in many brutal actions recently and the current execution method continue.

"We could set up automatic shooting machines to avoid psychological pressure on the executors," he added.

Deputy Dang Van Xuong of Long An Province even suggested that all executions by firing squad be carried out in public to reinforce deterrence.

Tomb raiding

Deputies also said there should be regulations allowing relatives of the executed prisoners to receive the latter's remains or cremated ashes for burial. Current regulations do not deal with the issue in detail, and the execution board is in charge of burying or cremating the dead.

Le Thi Thu Ba, chairwoman of the NA Judicial Committee, said relatives of the criminals have often resorted in many cases to stealing the bodies from cemeteries for reburial.

"The number of buried corpses being disinterred by their relatives is as high as 90 percent in some localities. This has led to difficulties in managing the graves of the executed criminals, especially when their relatives asked for the corpse that had already been stolen," she said.

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