Vietnam on Friday abrogated death sentences for seven crimes as a part of a revised Penal Code approved unanimously by the country’s National Assembly.
Starting from the new regulation which will enter into force on July 1, 2016, death penalties for Vietnamese officials involved in corruption will be commuted to life in prison if they give at least 75 percent of the money they took back to the authorities.
The revised law will abolish the death penalty for seven crimes.The crimes are surrendering to the enemy, opposing order, destruction of projects of importance to national security, robbery, drug possession, drug appropriation, and the production and trading of fake food.
The controversial legal reform package passed in Vietnam's assembly despite much criticism. Some lawmakers in June warned about the possible negative impact of the changes on the country's fight against corruption.
"This would create a loophole for corrupt officials to use money to trade for their life," Deputy Do Ngoc Nien said at that time.
However, the country has been under pressure to make changes to its laws due to international criticism led by rights groups and Western countries.
Vietnam ranks 119 out of 174 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index although the country’s Communist government says it has made fighting corruption a top priority.