Vietnam sentences 5 to death for dealing heroin

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HANOI, Vietnam — A Vietnamese court has sentenced five people to death for dealing heroin, lengthening the country’s list of condemned criminals even as it struggles to obtain the chemicals needed to execute them.

Vietnam has not executed anyone since 2011, when it decided to switch from firing squads to lethal injection on humanitarian grounds.

But it cannot get the chemicals it needs because the European Union bans factories there from exporting drugs used in lethal injections and Vietnam has yet to produce the poisons locally.

The state-run Vietnam News Agency said Tuesday that three men and two women were convicted of dealing 78 kilograms of heroin at the end of a four-day trial Monday in northern province of Bac Giang.

The report said four other women were sentenced to life in prison while four other defendants received 20 years in jail on the same charges in the case.

Four other people were convicted of the same charges last week, and there are currently more than 500 people on death row.

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