A Singaporean activist lights a candle outside Changi Prison.
Dewi Cooke December 2, 2005 - 10:56AM
A Singaporean protester has described the "blank" moment at which Nguyen Tuong Van's execution was held.
Jacob George, the spokesman for Singapore's only publicly identified anti-death penalty group, said: "Some of my colleagues were in tears, naturally. It was bearing down on us, it was very emotional.
"For me personally, I was quite blank actually. I didn't know what else to think."
The group's 12 members had spent the night in a cafe near the prison, walking out in pairs and groups of four to place candles outside the prison walls.
The grief-stricken prayers of the family of a former death row inmate marked the last half hour before the execution.
The family of Shanmugan Murugesu — described as Nguyen's death row 'soulmate' — arrived at 5.30am. Before Shanmugan was executed in May, he asked his family to do all they could to help Nguyen.
"It was pretty much the same up 'til about 5.30am when Shanmugan's mother, his twin sons, and M. Ravi the human rights lawyer took a picture with Nguyen's face," Mr George said.
"They were the final ones to actually do their hindu prayers in front of all the candles that were laid down.
"They lighted these hindu lamps and they chanted some prayers. Everyone was emotional . . . they continued that until 6am. That was basically the end."
Mr George said Shanmugan's family would wait outside the prison's visitor entrance at until they saw the van that would transport Nguyen's body.