10 February 2006 :Vietnam is considering abolishing the death penalty for nine different crimes, including smuggling, fraud, counterfeiting and bribery, state-controlled media reported.
The Ministry of Public Security has submitted a proposal to the Central Judiciary Reform Steering Commission that would cut the number of offenses punishable by a maximum penalty of death to 20 from the current 29, the Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper said.
The ministry also proposed adding lethal injection as a more humane method of execution. Currently, Vietnam executes prisoners by firing squad.
International human rights groups have criticized Vietnam for handing down many death sentences and using firing squads for executions.
The newspaper quoted the ministry as saying that execution by firing squad should be stopped because of the psychological impact on executioners.
The proposal must be approved by the National Assembly to become law. In 1999, Vietnam revised the criminal code to cut the number of death penalty crimes from 44 to 29.