Recent weeks have seen a monumental effort by Amnesty International Australia to save the life of Australian Van Tuong Nguyen, who is on death row in Singapore. That campaign, led by Tim Goodwin, AI Australia's Coordinator for their anti-death penalty work, is coming to a climax with the execution date set for this Friday, 2 December. Below is AI Australia's media statement of today.
Many of you have already sent messages to the Singaporean authorities. And you are aware of the massive amount of media coverage by Australian and international news agencies. Van's mother and twin brother have visited him in prison. Australia's Catholic bishops have written to the authorities. Both the late Pope and the current Pope appealed for clemency, Australian government leaders appealed directly. The UN Special Rapporteur on executions appealed. Anti death penalty campaigners in Singapore -- including the Anti Death Penalty Committee, the Think Centre and Dr Chee Soon Juan -- have spoken publicly at home and abroad and held vigils. Some refer to the utter cruelty of the death penalty, or its lack of deterrent effect. Others accuse the Singapore government of hypocrisy by retaining the death penalty for drugs offences, yet maintaining a relationship with drug-trafficking Myanmar. Although I have no information on its specific action on this case, the Canadian government assures me that it is active on human rights in Singapore.
Please fax a brief message via AI Australia to Singapore's High Commissioner to Australia, urging clemency on the grounds that executing Van Tuong Nguyen is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment and will not protect Singapore against drugs any more effectively than any other punishment. These letters are delivered daily to the Singapore High Commissioner to Australia. Australia is about 13 hours ahead of Canada. AI Australia fax: +61 3 9427 1643
Further information and appeals are available at AI Australia's website www.amnesty.org.au
Singapore: Only leadership can save Van Tuong Nguyen
Amnesty International is appealing directly to the Singapore Government to show leadership on human rights and commute the death sentence against Van Tuong Nguyen.
With the hours counting down towards his planned execution, the members of the Singapore Cabinet can show their leadership by saving his life,� said Tim Goodwin, Amnesty International Anti-Death Penalty Coordinator.
"The death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment and it does not protect Singapore against drugs any more effectively than other punishments.
This is the only chance left for the Singapore Government to acknowledge this and show its strength by stopping the execution," he said.
Over the past five weeks, Amnesty International has worked with tens of thousands of people in Australia and around the world to send a strong and loud appeal to the Singapore Government.
Now we are making a direct appeal to the members of the Singapore Cabinet: Please reconsider your decision.
There is a growing worldwide trend towards the abolition of the death penalty. More than half of the world's countries have abolished the death penalty and more countries abolish it each year.
As well as the worldwide trend towards abolition, there is also a growing view that a mandatory death penalty is a particularly cruel and unfair punishment.
"No court had the power to consider the punishment that might be appropriate for Van Tuong Nguyen," Tim Goodwin said.
"It is up to the members of the Singapore Cabinet to decide that the death penalty is inappropriate for Van, and it is inappropriate for every person convicted of serious crime in Singapore," he said.
Amnesty International has been campaigning for the Singapore government to call a halt to the mounting toll of executions and release information about its use of the death penalty.
Amnesty International is fundamentally opposed to the death penalty, in all countries and in all cases, as a violation of the most basic human right � the right to life.