Vietnam considers axing firing squads

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Vietnam's legislature is to consider getting rid of firing squads in favor of using lethal injections to execute criminals, during a month-long parliamentary session starting Thursday.

"It is necessary to find a more humanitarian method," the National Assembly said in a document.

"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 paper prepared by a key group of deputies.

With deputies divided on the issue, the assembly will be presented with two choices: either maintaining the firing squads or adopting lethal injection with a one year delay after a revised law takes effect.

Vietnamese authorities do not issue death penalty statistics but since the start of this year, 40 people have been sentenced to death, according to reports in state-linked media.

Last year there were at least 83 death sentences and nine executions, according to Vietnamese media reports.

Most death sentences in Vietnam are handed down for drug trafficking and murder cases.

Last year the National Assembly removed rape and several other offences from the list of crimes punishable by death.

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