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Communist Vietnam's secret death penalty conveyor belt: How country trails only China and Iran for 'astonishing' number of executions

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Prisoners are dragged from their cells at 4am without warning to be given a lethal injection Vietnam's use of the death penalty has been thrust into the spotlight after a real estate tycoon was on Thursday sentenced to be executed in one of the biggest corruption cases in the country's history. Truong My Lan, a businesswoman who chaired a sprawling company that developed luxury apartments, hotels, offices and shopping malls, was arrested in 2022.

Pakistan | Two Madrasa Students Get Death Sentence Over 'Blasphemy' Murder

Two Pakistani women sentenced to death for killing their madrassa teacher over blasphemy allegations, highlighting the sensitivity of blasphemy in Pakistan

Two Pakistani women have been sentenced to death for murdering their madrassa teacher who they accused of committing blasphemy, police said Wednesday. 

Blasphemy is an incendiary charge in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam have provoked deadly vigilantism.

Police said the “three female students allegedly slaughtered their local female cleric over blasphemy allegations” in northwestern Dera Ismail Khan city in March 2022. 

The three women, Razia Hanfi, Umra Aman and Ayesha Naumani from Jamia Islamia Falahul Binaat seminary in the province’s Dera Ismail Khan beat their teacher Bibi with sticks before slitting her throat at the seminary’s main gate.

The police arrested the three students and launched an investigation into the incident.

The three women, belonging to the same family, told police that a 13-year-old girl, also their relative, saw Bibi in her dreams committing blasphemy against the prophet Muhammed so they killed her.

A district judge “handed down the death penalty to two local madrasa students and a life sentence to one upon proving their involvement in the murder,” local police official Muhammad Haris told AFP.

The pair sentenced to death are aged 23 and 24 whilst the one sentenced to life in jail is 16, he said. 

The death penalty is technically allowed in Pakistan — and courts regularly hand down the sentence — but there have been no executions since 2020, according to Amnesty International.

Critics say that some people also misuse blasphemy law to settle their personal scores.

A violent mob lynched a man, who according to his family suffered from a mental disorder, for allegedly burning some pages of the Koran in eastern Pakistan in February 2021.

In December 2021, a violent mob lynched and set fire to the body of a Sri Lankan man in the northeastern Pakistani city of Sialkot, allegedly for committing blasphemy.

The lynching sparked condemnation from international organizations and the Sri Lankan government. 

Sources: Agence France-Presse, EFE, Staff, March 21, 2024

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