Guards jailed in Vietnam for aiding inmate pregnancy

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HANOI, Nov 15 (Reuters) A Vietnam court jailed two prison guards for allowing an inmate to impregnate a woman on death row so she could avoid execution.

One guard was sentenced to five years and another to three and a half years for abuse of power yesterday by the court in the northern city of Hoa Binh, the official police ministry newspaper said.

Under Vietnamese law, death sentences for pregnant women must be commuted to life in prison.

The 40-year-old woman's death sentence for a conviction of drug trafficking was commuted to life imprisonment in March.

She gave birth on March 25 to a 3.4 kg (7.5 lb) boy.

Police investigators said the two police prison guards opened her cell several times to let the woman have intercourse with a male inmate. The woman's sister gave gifts to one of the guards worth 1.5 million dong (about 100 dollar) for his help.

The report said the woman had previously tried to become pregnant with sperm donated by another prisoner, but she was unsuccessful.

The prison guards were suspended from their jobs and detained in October last year.

The woman, Nguyen Thi Oanh, was to face a firing squad last year after losing her appeal against the death sentence she received in 2005 for possession of heroin. Trafficking more than 600 grams of heroin in Vietnam is punishable by death or life imprisonment.


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