24 Oct 2005

PM downplays hopes for Nguyen clemency

I don't like the word 'bloody' being used in the word Singapore. It offends me. Hanging people well that's ok.

From ABC News
The lawyer for young Melbourne man on death row in Singapore has pleaded for the Prime Minister to make a last ditch appeal for mercy, but John Howard does not want to raise false hope.

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Prime Minister John Howard says the Federal Government has already done everything it possibly can for Tuong Van Nguyen, who has been sentenced to hang in Singapore for heroin smuggling.

Twenty-five-year-old Nguyen could be hanged within weeks for trying to smuggle 400 grams of heroin in 2002.

On Friday, Singapore's President denied an appeal for clemency for the Melbourne man.

"People have to understand that when you go to another country and commit a crime against the laws of that country, you are punished according to the laws of that country," Mr Howard said.

"I am desperately sorry. If there is anything new then we will put that before the relevant authorities, but if there is nothing new, I don't want to raise false expectations.

Mr Howard has appealed to the lawyers of Nguyen to take any new information to the relevant authorities.

"I feel for the man's family, he did it to help his brother, it was wrong, it was a serious crime," he said.

"He would've known that, but he did it to help his brother. Now I feel for him, as a human being. I don't believe in capital punishment but this is another country - we don't control Singapore."

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says he will make a final written appeal to his counterpart in Singapore, amid claims that the Australian Government is not doing enough to save the man's life.

"I think it's worth getting in touch again with the Singapore Government expressing our enormous disappointment," Mr Downer said.

However, Mr Downer says he remains very pessimistic about Nguyen's chances of a reprieve.

He says Australian authorities are re-examining police reports in the case but hold little hope.

"I don't think we should mislead the public and suggest that either the Prime Minister or I can really turn this around, I think that is nigh impossible," he said.

Nguyen's lawyer Lex Lasry says there is more the Federal Government can do to try to save his life.

Mr Lasry has praised the Federal Government's efforts to help Nguyen, but says there is still more that could be done.

"I think this is the time, in fact, for them to be doing twice as much as they previously have while he remains alive," he said.

Related Audio
Some time before Christmas, and possibly much sooner, 25-year-old Melbourne man Van Nguyen is likely to be the first Australian prisoner executed overseas since 1993. Today his lawyers asked Prime Minister John Howard to become directly involved. They say it is the only thing that might save his life.

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Although the Federal Government says it has done all it can to help Van Nguyen escape the death penalty, an expert on the Singaporean constitution says there is still some hope for the 25-year-old Australian man.

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Extract for a Related Article from The Age...

A deafening public silence surrounds the imminent execution of an Australian in Singapore.

[...]Many Australians know little of the cruelty surrounding the death penalty. It is almost four decades since anyone was taken to a place of execution in Australia and hanged by the neck until they were dead. This ghastly punishment was finally abolished in Australia in 1984. In 125 years, there were 185 executions in Victoria, just 21 in the 20th century. Singapore has hanged more than 420 people since 1991. These judicial killings have had no perceptible impact on the island's drug problem.

In Australia, both sides of politics profess opposition to the death penalty. Yet there have lately been murmurings tantamount to acquiescence. When the terrorists involved in the 2002 Bali bombings were convicted on capital charges, Prime Minister John Howard pointedly hailed the verdicts, but made no principled plea for clemency. It should surprise no one that such official ambiguity may have helped seal Nguyen's fate. The Government says it will make another last-ditch plea for his life. As long as Nguyen Tuong Van is alive, it must seek with vigour clemency on his behalf, reminding Singapore that the death penalty is barbaric and uncivilised.

More Age Related Links:
Fresh appeal for Singapore clemency
[5:03pm] Australia to provide more information to Singapore in a bid to save condemned Melbourne man's life. more
MPs intensify campaign to save Nguyen
Saving Nguyen Van Tuong: Your Say
Rudd's plea to Singapore
Mother's mercy plea
Death sentence: Vote now


Anonymous said...

My dad told me when I was young that all head of states or presidents have very bad health cuz they're the ones who signed the 'Death Warrants' for all death row convicts, literally killing them with their own hands. I thought, must be old karmic retribution at work.

But then you gotta wonder why George W Bush and his father are still in good health. Ah, I know--they've got the Devil behind them! Yeah!

How can anyone call himself a Christian when one of the ten commandments is, Thou Shalt Not Kill?

I seriously don't think God will let them play harps with the winged angels or frolicked with the 72 virgins.

Anonymous said...

it is sad to say but YOU don't care!, and i mean you reading this.

dfgd said...

i am disgusted!

dfgd said...

why do i care?

dfgd said...

sounds like a deadly case of legalism to me Mister K. Laws have, do and will change. or do they in Singapore?

Does the law also say that you have to make enemies of your neighbours?

dfgd said...

oh and Singaporeans will not remember shanmugam, the vast majority didn't care then, why should they suddenly care a few months after he has been killed.