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Vietnam: 49 People Face Imminent Execution

The 49 were sentenced to death but details about their crimes are not known. Their identities have also not been made public. The human rights organisation fears that the execution will take place in the coming weeks.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'The fundamental right to life is once again under threat in Vietnam.

'The Vietnamese authorities must commute the death sentence of these 49 people on death row in Ho Chi Minh City. The government should follow international standards and United Nations recommendations for all countries to move towards the abolition of the death penalty.'

Since the beginning of the year, 19 people have been executed and 53 have been sentenced to death in Vietnam. These numbers represent a significant increase on last year when 27 people were executed and 49 were sentenced to death.

The actual numbers are believed to be much higher, as not all executions and death sentences are made public.

Kate Allen added:

'The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.'

Background information

The death penalty in Vietnam is an optional punishment for 27 offences, including crimes against national security, murder, rape, drug trafficking and economic offences such as fraud and embezzlement. Executions are carried out by firing squad, reportedly often in public. Victims' relatives are not usually informed in advance of the execution, and are simply told several days later to collect prisoners' belongings. Pardon or commutation of sentences is rare. Since the beginning of 2003, only 12 people had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

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