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Australian anger over Singapore hanging
BBC ^

Posted on 11/28/2005 9:25:27 PM PST by maui_hawaii

Time is running out for 25-year-old Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, who is due to be executed at Singapore's Changi prison on Friday. His death sentence has sparked widespread criticism in Australia.

The Canberra government has repeatedly pleaded for clemency, as have lawyers, trade unions and church groups.

But Singapore remains unmoved, and insists the hanging will go ahead as planned.

"People have been praying for a change of heart," said Father Peter Norden, a friend of Kim Nguyen, the condemned man's mother.

"They want the Singapore government to change its heart from one of stone to a heart of flesh, as well as compassion and reason," he told the BBC.

Father Norden said Nguyen should be spared: "We believe this young man has committed a serious crime deserving of punishment, but not the loss of his life."

Nguyen was arrested carrying almost 400 grams (14 ounces) of heroin at Singapore's Changi airport in late 2002.

He said he was trying to smuggle the drugs from Cambodia to Australia to pay off his twin brother's debts.

Hardline approach

The Australian government believes Nguyen should not face the gallows because he has no previous criminal convictions. It has also argued that he could help investigations into drug syndicates if allowed to live.

But in a letter to his Australian counterpart, the Speaker of the Singapore Parliament, Abdullah Tarmugi, said there was no room for compromise.

"We have an obligation to protect the lives of those who could be ruined by the drugs Nguyen was carrying," he wrote. "He knew what he was doing and the consequences of his actions."

According to Amnesty International, about 420 people have been hanged in Singapore since 1991, mostly for drugs offences.

If these figures are correct, they would give the prosperous city-state of 4.2 million people the highest execution rate in the world, relative to its population.

At the weekend Australian Prime Minister John Howard made his fifth personal plea to the Singaporean leadership, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Mr Howard warned that Singapore should prepare for "lingering resentment" in Australia if the execution went ahead.

He has, however, rejected calls for boycotts of Singaporean companies, as well as trade and military sanctions with one of Australia's closest Asian allies.

"I believe John Howard has done as much as he could do," said Gerard Henderson, from the conservative think-tank The Sydney Institute.

"Listening to talk-back radio, there are some people who think that heroin smugglers deserve the death penalty, but I believe that the majority of Australians hold a different view," Mr Henderson told the BBC News website.

"They will be approaching Friday's deadline with a sense of dread," he added.

Little hope

Nguyen was born in a refugee camp in Thailand in 1980, after his mother fled from Vietnam. The family eventually settled in Melbourne.

Several last-ditch efforts to save him have been suggested, including taking Singapore to the International Court of Justice or arranging a prisoner swap, but legal experts have said none are likely to succeed.

Simon Rice, a lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, said that Singapore was not a signatory to international human rights covenants, and there was little hope the 25-year-old drug trafficker would be saved.

"[Nguyen's] execution is a seriously tragic reminder of how far short we are of a global commitment to human rights," Mr Rice told the BBC.

Some church leaders have called on Australians to observe a minute's silence for Nguyen on Friday, but overall opinion remains mixed.

"No-one has the right to take the life of someone else," John Karousos, a 66-year-old retiree in Sydney, told the BBC. "It doesn't matter what he's done or his mistakes. The death penalty is unacceptable."

"I have a small hope that it will be stopped at the last moment," he added optimistically.

But Gilly Parminter, a 40-year-old mother, was less sympathetic.

"Personally I think if you go into a country you have to abide by their laws, and you have to live with the consequences."

"It does seem harsh but they [the Singaporeans] can't change their minds at this late stage because it will undermine their system," she said.

The last Australian to be executed overseas was Michael McAuliffe.

The barman from Sydney was hanged in Malaysia in June 1993, after serving eight years in prison for heroin trafficking.

In 1986 two Australian citizens, Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers, were also hanged in Malaysia after being convicted of drug smuggling.

There appears to be little hope that Nguyen Tuong Van will avoid a similar fate in Singapore this Friday.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: aussies; australia; australian; barlow; brianchambers; chambers; drugs; hanging; kevinbarlow; nguyentuongvan; singapore; wod
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1 posted on 11/28/2005 9:25:28 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii

Note to self: Don't smuggle anything through Singapore.


2 posted on 11/28/2005 9:26:04 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii
"Personally I think if you go into a country you have to abide by their laws, and you have to live with the consequences."

Someone who "gets it"

3 posted on 11/28/2005 9:32:08 PM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: maui_hawaii
Note to self: Don't smuggle anything through Singapore.

Not to sell... Don't go to to Singpore Period.

4 posted on 11/28/2005 9:32:40 PM PST by adamsjas
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To: maui_hawaii

Hey Nguyen.....save a spot for Tookie.


5 posted on 11/28/2005 9:33:38 PM PST by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: maui_hawaii
There are many multi-lingual warnings on the airplanes into Singapore that drug smuggling is punishable by death: verbally over the com as they hand out transit/Customs forms, on screen when they play the tourist video, and on the customs declaration form itself.

Once in Changi Airport, there are plenty of pre-Customs multi-lingual notices in the terminal warning of the penalty for smuggling drugs into Singapore, and plenty of pre-Customs rest rooms in which to dump your stash.

There are simply no excuses.

6 posted on 11/28/2005 9:36:11 PM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: maui_hawaii

Midnight Express was enough to deter me from ever doing anything illegal in any country, including my own. lol


7 posted on 11/28/2005 9:38:12 PM PST by flying Elvis
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To: DTogo

He's got only one excuse. That being he is an utter dumb ass.


8 posted on 11/28/2005 9:38:39 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: Graybeard58

when in Rome....


9 posted on 11/28/2005 9:38:59 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: adamsjas
Singapore isn't a bad place at all. Just don't even think about smuggling drugs or spray painting a bunch of cars.

You will get hung for one, and caned for the other.

10 posted on 11/28/2005 9:40:22 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii

Exactly. Any country that whips the flesh right off your arse for doing something as little as spitting gum out in the street is not a country you want to screw with much less even get near. Why I keep reading about people smuggling drugs of all things into this country is something I`ll never understand in a million years, and it always seems to be people from Australia. The last was that woman who was busted last year.


11 posted on 11/28/2005 9:40:31 PM PST by WillamShakespeare (What is a John Kerry?)
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To: flying Elvis

What is Midnight Express?


12 posted on 11/28/2005 9:40:53 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii

Please amend the headline: "Australian MEDIA anger over Singapore hanging".


13 posted on 11/28/2005 9:41:34 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: WillamShakespeare

Maybe this brainiac was doing a little too much of his own product.


14 posted on 11/28/2005 9:42:15 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: Aussie Dasher
The mods don't like it when we ammend titles :o)

But we get the drift. You got liberal media too.

15 posted on 11/28/2005 9:43:31 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: WillamShakespeare

Spitting gum on the street (littering) is punishable by a S$300 fine if my memory serves me correctly. No caning for littering.


16 posted on 11/28/2005 9:44:59 PM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: maui_hawaii

"As for Michael Fay himself, he returned home to the United States, lived in Ohio with his mother. He moved to Florida in 1995 for a job at Universal Studios and attended college in Orlando.

In 1998 he pled guilty to possession of marijuana and paid a $500 fine."

Some folks never learn.


17 posted on 11/28/2005 9:45:38 PM PST by flying Elvis
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To: maui_hawaii

A movie. Google it


18 posted on 11/28/2005 9:46:06 PM PST by freedomlover (This Fall a Woman will be the Mother of a Mouse)
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To: maui_hawaii
What is Midnight Express?

A movie about a westerner escaping a Turkish prison who was convicted on drug offenses, as I recall.

19 posted on 11/28/2005 9:46:10 PM PST by LoneRangerMassachusetts (Some say what's good for others, the others make the goods; it's the meddlers against the peddlers)
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To: maui_hawaii

Yeah...and lefty priests and university types, as well!!!!


20 posted on 11/28/2005 9:46:20 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: maui_hawaii

Midnight Express:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077928/


21 posted on 11/28/2005 9:46:45 PM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: maui_hawaii

We should be executing heroin and meth dealers here. Give a fair warning on the hew policy of course


22 posted on 11/28/2005 9:46:56 PM PST by dennisw (You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you - Bob Dylan)
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To: DTogo

Ooooh. Turkish prison. Enough said.


23 posted on 11/28/2005 9:48:11 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii

A fellow thought he could smuggle two kilos of hash out of Turkey. Got caught and ended up spending some quality time in a Turkish prison. The story was made into a movie in 1978.


24 posted on 11/28/2005 9:48:41 PM PST by flying Elvis
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To: maui_hawaii

What's the word I'm looking for?

CARE. That's it.

I don't CARE.


25 posted on 11/28/2005 9:49:35 PM PST by Inyokern
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To: Aussie Dasher

Lefty university types? Thats a redundant comment.


26 posted on 11/28/2005 9:49:42 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii
There is absolutely no mistaking what awaits you if you are a druggie going to Singapore. It's written everywhere, even on the Customs and Entry Forms you fill out before arriving.<>Can we transfer Tookie to Singapore with his sentence intact?
27 posted on 11/28/2005 9:50:06 PM PST by TCats
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To: maui_hawaii

Fair point. No argument here :)


28 posted on 11/28/2005 9:51:34 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: flying Elvis

He's probably one of the few people I know of who are famous for getting an @ss whoopin'


29 posted on 11/28/2005 9:51:53 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii

I bet THEY have won their war on drugs. This how you fight a war you want to win, if you are serious about it.

While I understand how people could be against the death penalty, these same people don't seem to care nearly as much about the destructive consequences of certain illegal and usually heinous activities that give rise to the death penalty.


30 posted on 11/28/2005 9:52:38 PM PST by winner3000
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To: Inyokern

LOL!


31 posted on 11/28/2005 9:53:08 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: maui_hawaii
Max: The best thing to do is to get your ass out of here. Best way that you can.

Billy Hayes: Yeah, but how?

Max: Catch the midnight express.

Billy Hayes: But what's that?

Max: [laughs] Well it's not a train. It's a prison word for... escape. But it doesn't stop around here.

32 posted on 11/28/2005 9:55:08 PM PST by Delta 21 (MKC USCG-ret)
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To: winner3000

They asked a Singaporean official once about the death penalty and how many people were executed. His reply was something like, "we don't know how many, and don't care...keeping track of such things is a waste of paper"


33 posted on 11/28/2005 9:56:14 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: Delta 21; flying Elvis; LoneRangerMassachusetts; freedomlover
I smell a rental coming on.

Maybe I will watch it this Friday night in commemoration of the memory of this guy.

34 posted on 11/28/2005 9:58:45 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: adamsjas

I have been to Singapore many times and think it is a great city to visit. It is clean, safe and modern. The people of Singapore have the government they want. The list their freedoms in two ways "freedom to" and "freedom from".


35 posted on 11/28/2005 10:05:19 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: TCats

Someone could make some money writing a comprehensive travel guide for westerners, who have more adventuresome spirit than worldly understanding - of what can most easily get one into serious trouble around the globe.

Suggested title: "Things you absolutely must not do".

There are really a lot of things which you can get in serious trouble in other places which seem relatively trivial back home - and they're important to know. In the Philippines don't tear up a Piso at the airport tax window. In Thailand don't climb onto a Buddha, or insult the King. Stuff like that. (this poster's understanding is the situations above have gotten tourists arrested and jailed)

Someone actually wrote a (quite informative) book on how to use squat toilets around the world - there's really a need for some information like this on a broad scale.


36 posted on 11/28/2005 10:06:09 PM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (Hyphenated-Americans unite!!)
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To: DTogo

I don`t know, I read something a while ago that they whip your butt for that, but I`ve never been there before nor do I intend to. Can you imagine that happening here, butt whipping for grafitti or whatever it is? Forgeeeet it, you`d have ambulance chasers blocking up the courts for decades not to mention liberals going into seizures. You can`t even whip a serial killer in the US! Matter of fact, not only do we not whip them, we (Hollywood) makes movies about them and celebrates them on Oscar night.


37 posted on 11/28/2005 10:07:04 PM PST by WillamShakespeare (What is a John Kerry?)
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To: winner3000

Sane people realize that executing the nonviolent doesn't exactly lessen the amount of destruction.

They haven't won their war on drugs, they've simply driven it further underground, driven the prices up, at the cost of human lives - people who didn't need to die, who less "ruin lives" than a beer distributor.

This guy wasn't even staying in their country - he was just passing through. This is a totally gratuitous execution.


38 posted on 11/28/2005 10:07:13 PM PST by thoughtomator (What'ya mean you formatted the cat!?)
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To: maui_hawaii

"He knew what he was doing and the consequences of his actions."

Hang em


39 posted on 11/28/2005 10:08:05 PM PST by garylmoore (Homosexuality: Obviously unnatural, so obviously wrong.)
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To: maui_hawaii
"He's got only one excuse. That being he is an utter dumb ass."

Too bad for him that Singapore's law does not mention a "dumb ass" exclusion.

40 posted on 11/28/2005 10:11:42 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: maui_hawaii
To put this in perspective, since we had the recent case of the Paki brothers being convicted of gang rape in Australia:

"At the weekend President Musharraf made his fifth personal plea to the Australian leadership, during the Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

"Mr Musharraf warned that Australia should prepare for "lingering resentment" in Pakistan if the 10 year sentence went ahead.

"He has, however, rejected calls for boycotts of Australian companies, as well as trade and military sanctions with one of Pakistan's closest Oceanic allies.

"I believe Mr. Musharraf has done as much as he could do," said Mohammed Alhalabad, from the Shari'a Institute.

"Listening to talk-back radio, there are some people who think that rapists deserve prison terms, but I believe that the majority of Pakistanis hold a different view," Mr Alhalabad told the BBC News website.

Somehow, I don't think Mr. Howard would be swayed by such, and neither should Singapore...or Texas.
41 posted on 11/28/2005 10:15:12 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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To: garylmoore; Bonaparte

Here's an idea.... let this be one of those "Fear Factor" stunts...


42 posted on 11/28/2005 10:16:21 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: WillamShakespeare
The woman busted last year claimed it wasn't hers.

Which may have been the case. Airline baggage handlers are known to add things to other peoples luggage to get it from one place to another. Then their partners at the other end remove it before the owner of the baggage gets it back.

My biggest issue with all this is, if your going to make the punishment extreme, you have to make sure the person is guilty of doing it. In the case of this particular woman, it was highly debatable.
43 posted on 11/28/2005 10:19:37 PM PST by DB ()
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To: thoughtomator
"he was just passing through."

    As the traffic cop once said to me, as I protested that I'd only been over-parked one minute -- "That's all it takes."

"they've simply driven it further underground"

    Sounds like progress to me.

44 posted on 11/28/2005 10:25:21 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: maui_hawaii

Good idea. Give our drug peddlers a free trip to Singapore, provided they walk down those streets saying, "Got those loose joints, got that gold."


45 posted on 11/28/2005 10:28:54 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: DB
The woman was going to Bali, Indonesia. Where terrorist conspirators get a pick pockets sentence.
46 posted on 11/28/2005 10:40:45 PM PST by the_daug
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To: maui_hawaii

"Note to self: Don't smuggle anything through Singapore."

EXACTLY!


47 posted on 11/29/2005 12:19:24 AM PST by jocon307
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To: maui_hawaii
Note to self: Don't smuggle anything through Singapore.

I heard about a Westerner, I think it was a Dutchman, who was on a direct flight from Thailand to Australia. He was smuggling some kind of drug, but figured correctly that the Thais wouldn't bother him leaving the country, and the severity of punishment in Australia was low enough to make it worth the risk.

However, the plane had mechanical difficulties and diverted to Singapore. The fellow became frantic and was pulled aside for special investigation. The drugs were found and the smuggler was soon hanging by the neck until dead.

So I guess there is a risk in that part of the world even if you are not supposed to be transiting via Singapore.

-ccm

48 posted on 11/29/2005 12:52:51 AM PST by ccmay
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To: maui_hawaii

If justices Breyer, Kennedy, and Ruth Bader-Meinhoff-Ginsburg are paying attention that will note that this is a part of foriegn law that should be adopted by the US - death to drug dealers.


49 posted on 11/29/2005 2:36:56 AM PST by x1stcav (Murtha is a surrender monkey)
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To: WillamShakespeare

In order to own a car in Singapore, to control the number of cars there, you have to obtain an ownership permit first, which can roughly equal the cost of the car itself! Hence, when Michael Fay went on his graffiti binge spray painting cars, he was damaging property worth twice the value elsewhere. Strict punishment certainly gets the attention of would-be criminals, although there still is crime in Singapore.


50 posted on 11/29/2005 3:51:45 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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