When a Firing Squad Gives You Lemons, You Can’t Make Lemonade

Posted by at 7:11 pm on April 7, 2014
Category: EU

Vietnam Firing Squad via Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/PUBLIC/Regions/ASA/viet-nam-death-penalty-250x161.jpg [By Permission]The recent decision by Vietnam to execute corrupt bankers has garnered world-wide attention. Rather surprisingly, however, the case has an interesting intersection with export law issues.

As has been reported, the bankers will be subject to rather gruesome execution by firing squad.

Vietnam’s traditional means of execution involves binding perpetrators to a wooden post, stuffing their mouths with lemons and calling in a firing squad.

Death Penalty Worldwide adds another gory detail to death by firing squad in Vietnam: “As the prisoner is dying, an officer fires a pistol shot through the condemned’s ear.”

Apparently even Vietnam is somewhat troubled by all this and wants to transition from this barbaric procedure to lethal injection. But it can’t. According to Patrick Winn on the website Global Post, Vietnam is unable to obtain sodium thiopentol used in executions because the European Union refuses to export the chemical to countries that practice capital punishment.

That of course might make the E.U. feel better about itself, but it won’t stop Vietnam from executing anyone and only assures that prisoners in Vietnam will meet their bloody end with a lemon stuffed in their mouth, multiple bullet wounds, and a final coup de grâce of a bullet in the ear. I’m sure that each person executed in Vietnam will appreciate the European Union’s solicitude for their well-being.


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Copyright © 2014 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
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Arguably, there’s more honor in facing the firing squad than in the injection.

Comment by Dmitry on April 7th, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

Who knows whether shooting is worse?

Comment by Martin on April 8th, 2014 @ 2:33 am

What makes one execution method more barbaric than another? The result is the same, and the only one really worried about the cruelty of the chosen form is the one doing the killing, hoping to assuage his own guilt or conscience. I’m sure the prisoner fears death equally, no matter how he dies.

Comment by Alex on April 8th, 2014 @ 2:52 am

At least, in the EU, we don’t have the death penalty. And besides, can’t they buy that from the US ?? I would assume the EU is not the only supplier.

Comment by Sophie on April 8th, 2014 @ 5:29 am

The EU ban also affects the US; prompting various state corrections officials (not, I must point out, actual physicians) to play scientist, dreaming up substitute lethal drug combinations.

Comment by Scott on April 8th, 2014 @ 8:34 am

Ironically, it is highly likely that the most painless & humane execution method, based solely on the suffering of the person being executed, is the guillotine. Yet due to the gruesome visuality of the device, no one uses it. Executioners are highly motivated to assuage their own consciences. And anything that reminds them powerfully of what they’re actually doing, is right out.

Comment by ZtC on April 9th, 2014 @ 11:25 am