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These are the 29 foreign nationals executed in the US since 1976

US authorities failed to inform the arrested foreign nationals that they had the right to seek consular assistance under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. In 2004, the International Court of Justice found that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention in dozens of cases involving the arrest and prosecution of Mexican citizens.

While Mexico is riled by Texas execution, many actually support the death penalty

MEXICO CITY — "Even if he were guilty he has already paid with 20 years in prison. That’s enough," one reader commented on the website of Excelsior newspaper.

Vietnam's execution cocktail dilemma

Firing squads are out. Injections are in. But who'll supply the poison?
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Nguyen Thi Ha, aunt of Ho Thanh Tung, one of six defendants sentenced to death, sits crying next to her grand-son outside Ho Chi Minh-City's Court where the judge announced the sentences of the country's biggest ever corruption scandal, June 5, 2003. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Like many of its Communist brethren, Vietnam enforces the death penalty. The European Union abhors it.

This is a dilemma for Hanoi, which wants to use lethal injection drugs on its 500-plus prisoners on death row. Germany is a major supplier of sodium thiopental, a standard execution drug that's also used to induce anesthesia. But modern European mores dictate that enabling capital punishment is unethical and that Vietnam is unfit to receive the drug.

So, as the BBC and many other outlets are reporting, Vietnam now intends to create "domestic poisons" that will end the lives of its death row inmates.

Vietnam doesn't profess to care much about its death row inmates' condition. There's a reason Vietnam is suddenly seeking lethal drugs: last year, the government opted to quit using firing squads because it worried about the psychological toll on the shooters, not the anguish of the executed.

Those bound for execution — many of them drug traffickers — are reviled as "the seeders of white death to society," according to this excellent series on Vietnam's firing squads by the outlet Tuoi Tre. As Tuoi Tre uncovered, the firing squad was typically treated to an "alcohol-fueled party so that they could air their grievances and relieve their minds before going home."

Lethal injections are certainly easier on those tasked with carrying out state executions. But whether Vietnam's homegrown death cocktail will prove as painless to the executed as sodium thiopental — or offer a more painful death experience — remains to be seen. If it's the latter, the EU ban may inadvertently play a role in making the capital punishment system it disdains just a touch less humane.


Singapore to relax mandatory death penalty for drug offenders

Mentally disabled or cooperative drug couriers may receive life sentences instead of death penalty under new rules
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A view of the Marina Bay Sands (L) and financial district highrises (R) in Singapore on June 14, 2012. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)
Singapore's infamously harsh sentencing for drug couriers may be coming to an end, the Associated Press reported today. In a Monday announcement, deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean said the government will now give judges the ability to consider life sentencing for couriers who are mentally disabled, as well as those who cooperate when caught.
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Amnesty International campaigns globally to bring an end to capital punishment. (LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images)

Among the invaluable activities of Amnesty International is the compilation of an annual report on capital punishment. The 2011 edition was published today and it makes for interesting reading.

The bad news: there was a more than 10 percent increase in the number of judicial killings worldwide. In 2011, 676 executions took place as opposed to 527 in 2010.


EU condemns Belarus for execution of alleged Minsk subway bombers

The two men executed "were not accorded due process, including the right to defend themselves," according to the EU's head of foreign policy, Catherine Ashton.

Japan: no new executions

TOKYO — Executions have slowed to a halt since the left-of-center Democratic party of Japan (DPJ) took office in a landslide election victory in 2009.

Justice for Stephen Lawrence, pt. 2

Thanks to change in "double jeopardy" law Stephen Lawrence's killers are convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment
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Stephen Lawrence, murdered 18 years ago in Britain's most notorious racial killing. Today, two members of the gang who stabbed him to death were sentenced to life in prison. (Handout/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday, 18 years after the crime was committed, two men were convicted of the murder of black teen-ager Stephen Lawrence. Today, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Britain does not have the death penalty. Nor does life imprisonment mean life here.

Most life sentences stipulate a minimum amount of time to be served before a convicted murderer is eligible for parole. Because Dobson and Miller were teen-agers at the time of the murder, their minimum time in jail was set by Mr. Justice Treacy at 15 years and two months. Norris must serve 14 years and three months.

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