Vietnam sets up poison production

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LethalInjectionTableVietnam has issued a new law that allows chemical factories to produce poison used for lethal injections to execute a backlog of  530 death row inmates, local media reported.

The country in November 2011 switched from firing squads to lethal injections for prisoners with a death sentence on humanitarian grounds, but has not been able to execute them because the European Union (EU), the only producer of such chemicals worldwide, had stopped exporting chemicals used in lethal injections as it regards the death penalty a human rights violation.

EU ambassador to Vietnam, Franz Jessen, said the country might not have realised the practical implications of changing to lethal injections when it announced its plan to switch from the firing squad. He said the EU had hoped difficulties in sourcing the chemicals might have triggered a moratorium on capital punishment in the country.

However, the death sentence remains a legal form of punishment in Vietnam applied to persons who commit serious crimes. There are 29 recognised crimes carrying the death penalty in the country, among them crimes of infringing upon national security, public safety and public order, environmental and drug-related crimes, crimes of “infringing upon marriage” and the “economic management order.” The death penalty cannot be applied to juvenile offenders, pregnant women and women nursing children under 36 months.

Most of the 530 people on death row in Vietnam are there for crimes including drug trafficking, rape and corruption.

The authorities have already installed the equipment for carrying out lethal injections and trained staff to use it, but have been unable to buy the three-stage drugs which are required by law, according to Vietnam’s Minister for Public Security, Tran Dai Quang. He gave no details about the nature of the new drugs.

Typically, three drugs are used in stages during a lethal injection: Sodium Thiopental is used to induce unconsciousness, Pavulon, or pancuronium bromide, to cause muscle paralysis and respiratory arrest, and potassium chloride to stop the heart from beating. The drugs are manufactured by major European pharmaceutical companies such as Akzo Nobel, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering-Plough, Zuellig and others. The only factory in the US producing Sodium Thiopental, Hospira, stopped manufacturing in 2011 which has delayed executions in California and Oklahoma.

However, the lethal drugs are technically available in generic version from India. Newer methods of lethal injections include the use of Midazolam, a drug developed by Hoffman-La Roche to treat acute seizures and insomnia, and Hydromorphone, a derivative of morphine, produced by Abbot, Merck, Mundipharma, Ethex, among others.

Countries that currently use lethal injections for capital punishment are the US (where it is the preferred method), China, Guatemala, Thailand and Taiwan.

In ASEAN, death penalty is legal punishment in Malaysia (last execution 2011), Indonesia (last execution March 2013), Myanmar (last official execution in 1993), Laos (last execution 1989), Singapore (last execution 2010) and Brunei (last execution 1957).

Countries that abolished the death penalty are Cambodia (1989) and the Philippines (2006).

The last execution in Vietnam took place in 2011 and in Thailand in 2009.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vietnam has issued a new law that allows chemical factories to produce poison used for lethal injections to execute a backlog of  530 death row inmates, local media reported.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

LethalInjectionTableVietnam has issued a new law that allows chemical factories to produce poison used for lethal injections to execute a backlog of  530 death row inmates, local media reported.

The country in November 2011 switched from firing squads to lethal injections for prisoners with a death sentence on humanitarian grounds, but has not been able to execute them because the European Union (EU), the only producer of such chemicals worldwide, had stopped exporting chemicals used in lethal injections as it regards the death penalty a human rights violation.

EU ambassador to Vietnam, Franz Jessen, said the country might not have realised the practical implications of changing to lethal injections when it announced its plan to switch from the firing squad. He said the EU had hoped difficulties in sourcing the chemicals might have triggered a moratorium on capital punishment in the country.

However, the death sentence remains a legal form of punishment in Vietnam applied to persons who commit serious crimes. There are 29 recognised crimes carrying the death penalty in the country, among them crimes of infringing upon national security, public safety and public order, environmental and drug-related crimes, crimes of “infringing upon marriage” and the “economic management order.” The death penalty cannot be applied to juvenile offenders, pregnant women and women nursing children under 36 months.

Most of the 530 people on death row in Vietnam are there for crimes including drug trafficking, rape and corruption.

The authorities have already installed the equipment for carrying out lethal injections and trained staff to use it, but have been unable to buy the three-stage drugs which are required by law, according to Vietnam’s Minister for Public Security, Tran Dai Quang. He gave no details about the nature of the new drugs.

Typically, three drugs are used in stages during a lethal injection: Sodium Thiopental is used to induce unconsciousness, Pavulon, or pancuronium bromide, to cause muscle paralysis and respiratory arrest, and potassium chloride to stop the heart from beating. The drugs are manufactured by major European pharmaceutical companies such as Akzo Nobel, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering-Plough, Zuellig and others. The only factory in the US producing Sodium Thiopental, Hospira, stopped manufacturing in 2011 which has delayed executions in California and Oklahoma.

However, the lethal drugs are technically available in generic version from India. Newer methods of lethal injections include the use of Midazolam, a drug developed by Hoffman-La Roche to treat acute seizures and insomnia, and Hydromorphone, a derivative of morphine, produced by Abbot, Merck, Mundipharma, Ethex, among others.

Countries that currently use lethal injections for capital punishment are the US (where it is the preferred method), China, Guatemala, Thailand and Taiwan.

In ASEAN, death penalty is legal punishment in Malaysia (last execution 2011), Indonesia (last execution March 2013), Myanmar (last official execution in 1993), Laos (last execution 1989), Singapore (last execution 2010) and Brunei (last execution 1957).

Countries that abolished the death penalty are Cambodia (1989) and the Philippines (2006).

The last execution in Vietnam took place in 2011 and in Thailand in 2009.

 

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