30 Nov 2005

Amnesty denies glorifying Nguyen

Related Audio
SA Premier Mike Rann says has described Van Nguyen as a potential murderer and says his sentence should be kept into perspective.

[RealMedia 28k+] [WinMedia 28k+ ] [MP3]

The lawyer for convicted drug smuggler Van Nguyen says there is little hope his client will escape his looming execution.

[RealMedia 28k+] [WinMedia 28k+] [MP3]

Amnesty International says it is not trying to portray Melbourne man Van Nguyen as a hero in the lead-up to his hanging in Singapore for drug smuggling.

The human rights group has responded to comments made by South Australian Premier Mike Rann, who has called for people to put the planned execution of the 25-year-old on Friday into perspective.

Mr Rann says while he opposes the death penalty, he believes calls for sanctions against Singapore and a minute's silence to mark the execution are outrageous.

But Amnesty International's anti-death penalty coordinator, Tim Goodwin, says the Premier is missing the point.

"This campaign is not about defending Van Nguyen by any means," he said.

"He committed a very serious criminal offence and an offence that he clearly needs to be punished for and punished very severely.

"This is an argument about a fundamental violation, which is the death penalty."


The Greens say they have legal advice that Australia may be able to extradite Nguyen.

Senator Kerry Nettle says she will move a motion in the Senate today, calling on the Federal Government to try everything possible to extradite him.

Senator Nettle says the Government has previously been advised that extradition is not possible.

But she says there may be a loophole if Nguyen is charged by Australian authorities with conspiracy to import heroin.

"The Government has put forward arguments to say that you would not be able to charge Van Nguyen here with importing heroin," she said.

"That's why the request from the Council of Civil Liberties is to charge him with conspiracy to import heroin because it's a separate charge so the double jeopardy does not come into play."


Just two days away from his scheduled execution, Nguyen is again being visited by family and friends.

His lawyer Lex Lasry, QC, has also arrived for an official visit to his client.

Earlier, Nguyen's friends Bronwyn Lew and Kelly Ng visited him, while his mother and brother are expected to come to Changi Prison this afternoon.

There has been no word on whether Singapore will agree to a request from Nguyen's mother, Kim, to be allowed to hug her son before he is executed.

Nguyen's case is drawing attention in Singapore's media.

The influential Straits Times newspaper has today run a number of articles and letters about the case, some of them from Australians supporting the Singapore Government's stance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have practically saintified Nguyen and villianised the country which is doing more to stem the drug problem than you care to do.