1 Feb 2005
Singapore considers clemency for Melbourne man
By South East Asia correspondent Peter Lloyd
The Singaporean Government says it will consider an appeal for clemency by an Australian man on death row for heroin trafficking.
But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has defended the country's tough stance on drug crime during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Mr Howard said he would use a 45-minute meeting with the Singapore leader to highlight what he called the compassionate circumstances in the case of Melbourne man Van Tuong Nguyen.
The 24-year-old was arrested in December 2002 at Singapore airport trying smuggle 400 grams of heroin on board a Qantas flight.
During his trial, Van claimed he was carrying the drug to help pay off legal bills incurred by his twin brother.
But under Singapore law, anyone caught with more than 15 grams of heroin faces a mandatory death penalty, regardless of the circumstances.
Mr Lee said the Government would consider the case for clemency.
But Singapore has proven repeatedly that foreigners are not exempt from its execution laws.