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Capital punishment remains in force in Mongolia, one of 58 countries (out of 197) listed by Amnesty International as maintaining the death penalty in practice.[1] The method of execution is a bullet to the neck.[2]

Five crimes remain liable to the death penalty: "terrorist acts committed for political purposes; terrorist acts against representatives of a foreign State for political purposes; sabotage; premeditated murder committed with aggravating circumstances; and rape with aggravating circumstances". Only men aged between 18 and 60 at the time of the crime may be executed; women are not subjected to the death penalty.[3] [4] The government has considered abolishing the death penalty for all crimes exept premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances.[5]

Amnesty International reports that Mongolia -like China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore- practices executions in secrecy.[6] [7] The family of the prisoner is not informed of the date of the execution, nor of the place of burial.[8] 45 people were sentenced to death in 2007, but the number of executions was not revealed by the authorities.[9] Five people are thought to have been executed in 2008.[10]

In June 2009, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, an abolitionist, was elected President of Mongolia. He began using his prerogative of pardon to prevent the application of the death penalty.[11] [12] On January 14, 2010, he announced that he would, henceforth, systematically use his prerogative to pardon all persons sentenced to death. He stated that most countries in the world had abolished the death penalty, and that Mongolia should follow their example; he suggested that it be replaced with a thirty year prison sentence. The decision was controversial; when Elbegdorj announced it in Parliament, a significant number of represesentatives chose not to give the applause customarily due after a presidential speech.[13]

Thus, at present, Mongolia has a moratorium on the death penalty, but -as noted by Le Monde- President Elbegdorj "may find it a lot more difficult" to have the death penalty abolished in law. The death penalty may be applied once more if Elbegdorj fails to be reelected.[14]

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