30 Nov 2005

Singapore paper claims Australians support execution

November 30, 2005 - 1:45PM

Singapore's leading newspaper claims ordinary Australians support the decision to hang convicted drug courier Nguyen Tuong Van.

The Straits Times today cited an email sent to Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo from a man whose 40-year-old son and daughter-in-law were said to be drug addicts.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed anger at those who showed sympathy for drug peddlers such as Nguyen, who is due to be hanged on Friday.

The report entitled "Few Aussies against Nguyen hanging, says addict's dad" concluded that: "His email coming amid criticism from human rights and other activists, suggests ordinary Australians hold a different view and back Singapore."

Nguyen was caught in transit at Changi airport in 2002 with 396 grams of heroin. Repeated pleas for mercy from the Australian Government, his family and friends, and the Catholic Church have fallen on deaf ears.

There is still no word from authorities as to whether Kim Nguyen will be allowed to hug her 25-year-old son when she sees him for the last time.

The Straits Times report on the unnamed Australian carried no reporter's byline. The email was not released to the foreign media based in Singapore.

The report went on to describe the contents of the email, which talked about the difficulties faced by the father coping with his son and daughter-in-law's addiction.

"I have the heartbreaking experience of dragging my son from our toilet with a needle in his arm, and he had stopped breathing," the email was quoted as saying.

"If it hadn't been for his wife knowing what to do, he would have died," it said.

The email said that Australians backed the Singapore court's decision to hang Nguyen.

Singapore's main print and broadcast media, including The Straits Times, is firmly tied to the ruling People's Action Party Government, which has run the country uninterrupted since independence more than 40 years ago.

The local media are not free in the mainstream western sense, but support what officials call "nation-building".

The email to Mr Yeo said few Australians would support a call for a minute's silence on Friday for Nguyen.


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