[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Nov 10 22:39:18 CST 2008
Call on the Vietnamese Prime Minister to abolish the death penalty ----
Death penalty in Viet Nam proposed reforms a welcome step towards
A former treasurer of a local post office in the Bac Lieu province of Viet
Nam is facing a death sentence on charges of embezzlement. Tang Thi Ba was
sentenced to death on 29 May on for embezzling 15 billion Vietnamese dong
(just over US$900,000). She had been arrested in December 2006 and
admitted the charges in court.
The prosecutors sought a life sentence, but the court sentenced her to
death because of the amount of money involved. On 29 August, the court of
appeals upheld Tang Thi Ba's death sentence. Her final recourse is now
appealing to the President for commutation of the sentence.
The death penalty may be imposed for 29 offences in Viet Nam's Penal Code.
These offences include economic crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement,
smuggling, counterfeiting and offering bribes; manufacturing, concealing
and trafficking in narcotic substances.
According to media reports Viet Nam has executed at least 3 people this
year, and at least 28 people have been sentenced to death. However,
executions are rarely reported and the actual number is believed to be
much higher. In 2007, more than 25 people were executed.
International standards for fair trial are not followed in practice in
Viet Nam. Legal counsel is often assigned to defendants at the last
minute, allowing little pre-trial preparation. The defence is not always
allowed to call or question witnesses, and private consultation with
counsel may be limited. In many cases, all the defence counsel can do is
plead for clemency.
On 3 November, the government presented amendments on some clauses of the
Penal Code. In the amended law, the government proposed to remove the
death sentence on offences of embezzlement, bribery and production of fake
goods (including fake food, medicine), amongst others, which would reduce
the number of capital offences to 12.
According to the government, to fight against corruption effectively, it
is important to combine and act on several measures simultaneously instead
of meting out a death sentence.
Amnesty International is calling on the Vietnamese authorities to carry
out the proposed reforms and introduce a moratorium on executions with a
view to abolishing the death penalty .
"Viet Nam abstained in December 2007 when the UN General Assembly (UNGA)
adopted a resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,"
said Martin Macpherson from Amnesty International. "Amnesty International
welcomed the fact that Viet Nam didn't vote against the resolution.
"The resolution expresses deep concern about the application of the death
penalty. It calls on states that still maintain it to respect
international safeguards guaranteeing the rights of those facing the death
penalty, to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may
be imposed and to establish a moratorium on executions with the view to
abolishing the death penalty.
"A 2nd resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty will be
introduced at this 63rd session. The resolution will be put to a vote at
the Third Committee around 18 November. Amnesty International calls on
Viet Nam to join with the majority of countries in the world in voting in
favour of a moratorium."
(source: Vietnam Catholic News)
More information about the DeathPenalty