Tuesday, 29 November 2005
Van Nguyen risks being hanged a third time if authorities discover the graffiti he left on his cell wall Singapore has refused Nguyen Tuong Van’s request for chewing gum as his last meal, saying that to grant the condemned man’s wish could harm Singapore’s international reputation as a brutal but litter-free nation. “We’re more likely to give him clemency than the chance to litter,” said the superintendent of Changi prison Gong Chok Lee. “Besides, chewing gum is most uncivilised, even on death row.”
The superintendent says Nguyen’s request put authorities in a difficult position. “If we gave him the gum and he littered, we’d have to hang him twice” Gong explained. “And when someone is about to be executed, capital punishment is even an even less effective deterrent than it normally is.”
Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew has applauded the decision on Nguyen’s last meal, saying he hoped it would show the world that Singapore’s justice system is not just excessive and rigidly inflexible in relation to drug offences. Mr Lee also said the Singapore government should introduce the death penalty for criticism of the death penalty, threatening to sue anyone who disagreed with him for defamation.
Meanwhile in Australia, John Howard has been criticised for planning to attend the Prime Minister’s XI cricket match on the day Nguyen is scheduled to be executed. But the PM relented earlier today, formally asking the Singapore government the delay Nguyen’s execution until the lunch break.
Although Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has ruled out taking Singapore to the ICJ over Nguyen’s case, the PM is considering a last minute request to the ICC to change the schedule for the day’s cricket.
As the execution date nears, Nguyen’s supporters have made a last ditch effort to save him, engaging Michelle Leslie’s legal team to try and buy the condemned man out of trouble. Nguyen’s family have also appealed to Leslie’s millionaire boyfriend Scott Sutton to provide $AUD300,000 in “immediate emotional support.”