Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong asked the lawmaking National Assembly on Monday to consider eliminating the death penalty for crimes like embezzlement, bribery and plane hijacking, saying it was "in line with the global trend to limit and abolish the death penalty altogether," the Laborer newspaper reported.

The Justice Ministry proposed reducing the number of crimes subject to the death penalty from 29 to 12, it said. Forty-four crimes were punishable by death in 1999.

Vietnam has been criticized by international human rights organizations for its frequent application of the death penalty.

The country condemns about 100 people to death each year, many of them on drug-related offenses.

Cuong recommended that corruption crimes be punished with a maximum sentence of life in prison, the report said.

But Le Thi Thu Ba, head of the assembly's judiciary committee, expressed reservations about the plan.

"The death penalty should not be removed for embezzlement and bribery because corruption is a national disaster," she was quoted as saying.

The Assoicated press _November 4, 2008