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Lethal injection 'still means death'

Religious leaders call for end to capital punishment, not just new method of execution

  • ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam
  • September 26, 2011
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Religious leaders say a decision to introduce lethal injections for executions does not mean the end of the death sentence and have called on the government to abolish capital punishment once and for all.

At the very least it’s a move in the right direction, but it still involves taking a life,” said Thai Tho Thanh, head of Cao Dai Temple of Sai Gon in Ho Chi Minh City.

Cao Dai is an indigenous Vietnamese religion that incorporates elements of major western and eastern religions.

“Injections are a more humane method of execution and less painful for those being executed,” Thanh noted.

However, I hope that in the near future the government “will abolish the death penalty and impose lengthy sentences that give people an opportunity turn their lives around,” he said.

On September 20, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a resolution that will see the introduction of lethal injections on November 1.

The sentence will involve the use of three drugs -- sodium thiopental to anesthetize the condemned, pancuronium bromide to paralyze the nervous system and muscles, and potassium chloride to stop the heart.

A priest from Ho Chi Minh City said the death sentence in whatever form is still wrong.

Life sentences show a respect for the right to life since “life is given by God” and people have no right to end their own life or others, said the 58-year-old priest who wished to remain anonymous.

“Forgiveness and tolerance can help change a sinner’s attitudes and lead them to live a good life,” he said.

Noting Buddhism teaches people not to kill living things, Nguyen Van Dung, a Buddhist, said the death penalty should be abolished since life must be respected.

Related reports:

Catholics seek end to Vietnam death penalty

Diocese appeals for life of Vietnamese convict
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