Honorable Mr. President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
(Via the Ambassador of Vietnam in France)
RE: Death Penalty in Vietnam
We, the members of the Plum Village Community in France, including monastic and lay practitioners from many countries, are writing this letter with respect to you and the Vietnamese Government to make a request for a removal on the death penalty in Vietnam.
Nowadays in the world, there are many nations in which death penalty have been removed. As of 2010, only 21 nations still apply the rule of the penalty. By taking a prompt action, Mr. President, you will be able, first and foremost, to save the lives of 586 prisoners on death row. These individuals currently live with expectation of receiving a lethal injection, like Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan who was so executed on the sixth of August.
The death penalty has not been proved to be an effective deterrent to crime. Out of compassion towards the nation, please intervene so that these prisoners on death row may have an opportunity to redeem themselves while they are in prison and become good citizens.
In the beginning of the Ly Dynasty, death penalties such as being boiled in a cauldron of hot oil, being trampled upon by an elephant or being dragged by a horse were banned as our country came to embrace the teachings of the Buddha. In the time of the Buddha, Angulimala, a serial killer was granted amnesty by King Prasenajit, and he became one of the most compassionate people in the Sangha of the Buddha.
If the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam agrees, we will send our monastic or lay Dharma instructors to prisons to guide incarcerated persons in the practice of mindfulness meditation and help them to transform and rediscover the joy of wholesome living—even while they are still in prison—as we and our friends have already and still conducted this in prisons all over the world.
We are sharing this letter to friends in the religious and humanitarian communities worldwide. Many people will add their names to this request that you, Mr. President, use your considerable power so that now and in future many people may benefit from your compassionate action.
We respectfully express our gratitude to you, Mr. President, and we wish that you may have a long life in peace.
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