Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Australians Outraged Over Singapore's Impending Execution of an Aussie

Nguyen Tuong Van is an Australian drug trafficker who was arrested at Singapore's airport three years ago for carrying 400 grams (14 ounces) of heroin. Nguyen now faces the death penalty. Australia is one of 121 countries that have banned capital punishment in law or practice.

Australia's government and citizens have been very vocal in their opposition to the execution.

Time is running out for 25-year-old Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, who is due to be executed at Singapore's Changi prison on Friday.

His death sentence has sparked widespread criticism in Australia.

The Canberra government has repeatedly pleaded for clemency, as have lawyers, trade unions and church groups.

But Singapore remains unmoved, and insists the hanging will go ahead as planned.

"People have been praying for a change of heart," said Father Peter Norden, a friend of Kim Nguyen, the condemned man's mother.

"They want the Singapore government to change its heart from one of stone to a heart of flesh, as well as compassion and reason," he told the BBC.

Father Norden said Nguyen should be spared: "We believe this young man has committed a serious crime deserving of punishment, but not the loss of his life."

Nguyen will be hanged on Friday if the appeals for clemency continue to fall on deaf ears.

The death penalty faces growing opposition worldwide. More and more it is coming to be seen as an uncivilized vestige of humanity's barbaric past.

Next week, the Cities for Life, Cities Against the Death Penalty initiative will be taking place, and 320 cities all over the world will be taking part -- including two cities in Texas: Dallas and Austin. The event is sponsored annually, always on November 30, by the Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

This is good. One of the most compelling reasons for not getting even more outraged at Singpore's prescription of death penalty for drug trafficking is the USA case! It wasn't exactly on the political agenda when Australia negotiated the free trade agreement with USA that the death penalty must be reabolished. So it's a bit pointless to expect political will to encourage Singapore to drop the death penalty or face trade restrictions.