Mongolian president vows to abolish death penalty
Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj on Thursday said he opposed capital punishment and planned to abolish the death penalty, Chinese and Russian media reported.
Elbegdorj made his vow in a Mongolian parliamentary session, suggesting that death sentences should be commuted to 30 years in prison, China's official Xinhua news agency reported from the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator.
"Although our country retains the punishment today, the country has to abolish it," the agency quoted Elbegdorj as saying.
The president has the power to commute death sentences, but any change in the law would need parliamentary approval.
Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said Elbegdorj ordered an immediate moratorium on the death penalty.
He had approved death sentences for three people since he took office in May, the Russian agency said.
According to London-based Amnesty International, Elbegdorj granted a presidential pardon last year to a 33-year-old man convicted of murder.
Mongolia executed at least one person in 2008 and passed 45 death sentences in 2007, Amnesty said.
The group said its statistics were not reliable because of "secrecy and a lack of transparency" on capital punishment in Mongolia.