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Government to make its own lethal injection drugs

Firing squad method suspended reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

January 24, 2013

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The Ministry of Public Security announced plans this week to begin domestic production of drugs to be used in the execution of criminals by lethal injection.

A draft decree for amending the implementation of the death penalty has been presented to the Ministry of Justice, which must approve the measure before domestic production can begin.

The move follows a decision in November 2011 to suspend execution by firing squad because of the rising cost of munitions, the lack of suitable facilities and the stress created for executioners, the government said at the time. 

Public Security Minister Tran Dai Quang told the National Assembly that authorities have already installed the necessary equipment for carrying out executions by lethal injection in five prison camps across the country but that a reliable supply of drugs, including sodium thiopental, pancuronium and potassium chloride, is still required. 

National Assembly Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son said last year that Vietnam was unable to import the necessary drugs.

“We would need to import the drugs from the European Union, but they have asked us to abolish the death penalty.” 

The EU has strict controls on any drugs that could be used for capital punishment or torture. 

Some 532 people currently await execution for crimes including drug trafficking, rape and murder, according to Ministry of Public Security data.

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