Vietnam suspends jail guards over death-row pregnancy

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The woman became pregnant in an apparent attempt to escape the death penalty

Four prison guards have reportedly been suspended in Vietnam for alleged negligence after an inmate on death row became pregnant.

Investigators say Nguyen Thi Hue, 42, inseminated herself with the help of a male inmate, apparently to escape the death penalty, state media reported.

Police in the northern Quang Ninh province have not commented.

Her sentence is expected to be converted to life imprisonment for having a child under three years old.

Officials said Hue bought sperm from a 27-year-old male inmate for $2,300 (£1,600), the state-owned Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

The inmate handed over his semen and syringes to Hue twice in August 2015, it said. She is expected to give birth in April.

She was arrested for drug trafficking in 2012 and sentenced to death in 2014. An appeal was rejected in the same year.

Vietnamese legislation says that a pregnant woman or a mother whose child is less than three years old cannot be executed, and the sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment.

In 2007, two prison guards in the northern province of Hoa Binh were jailed after they allowed a female inmate on death row to get pregnant with a male inmate, the paper said.

She managed to avoid the sentence.