November 17, 2005
SINGAPORE Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has apologised to Prime Minister John Howard for not personally informing him of the date for an Australian man's execution in Singapore.
And the Singapore Government has revealed that the letter it sent to Tuong Van Nguyen's family, informing them of his December 2 execution date, had been delivered a day earlier than planned. An investigation will be held into how this happened.
Mr Howard met Mr Lee today in South Korea and made another unsuccessful appeal for clemency for 25-year-old Nguyen Tuong Van, who is due to face the gallows at Changi prison in Singapore on December 2.
However, he did not learn until after the meeting that the Singapore government had set a date for the hanging.
The news came instead from Nguyen's lawyer in Melbourne, Lex Lasry, who said Nguyen's mother had been advised by letter of when her son would die.
Mr Lee today apologised to Mr Howard, blaming an earlier-than-intended delivery of the letter to Nguyen's family. The letter was meant to be delivered on November 18.
"PM Lee Hsien Loong has apologised to PM John Howard for not informing him of Mr Nguyen Tuong Van's execution date during their meeting this morning," Mr Lee's spokesman Chen Hwai Liang said in a statement tonight.