A 25 year old man from Melbourne in Australia has lost his final bid against his death sentencein Singapore. The loss of the appeal for clemency by
the Australian government means that Nguyen Tuong Van may hang within a week. Mr Nguyen's Australian lawyers have not given up hope and are lobbying
for other public international figures including the pope to intervene. Mr Nguyen was caught in Singapore with a large quantity of heroin which it is
believed he was transporting from Vietnam to Australia in 2002.
"We're obviously extremely disappointed with the news and the fact that the Singapore Government have decided to execute our client," he said.
"Indeed it's news that's devastating for him and for his family."
Prime Minister John Howard says Singapore's confirmation of the death sentence for Nguyen is a terrible reminder of the tough drug laws in Asia.
Mr Howard says the Australian Government has done all it could.
"It's a sad thing for his family, it is a terrible reminder of the consequences of taking and dealing in drugs in Asian countries," he said.
"It was made very clear to me when I saw the Singapore Prime Minister at the beginning of this year, when I raised this matter in my meeting with him
that the Singaporeans took a very tough line on drugs."
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says all avenues of appeal have been tested and Nguyen Tuong Van now faces death by hanging.
"We've appealed for clemency," he said.
"The Governor-General has [appealed] to the President of Singapore, the Prime Minister has to the President, and quite recently when I met with the
Singapore Foreign Minister in Perth, I repeated our plea for clemency.
Mr Downer says he is saddened by the news.
"There's no question that due process has been followed here, it has," he said.
"Singapore does have a mandatory death sentence for trafficking in heroin and they're applying it which I'm afraid doesn't come as a great surprise to
us. I've been pessimistic about this case for some time we've done everything we can to plead for his life."
Kim Nguyen - Mother of the Accused
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I can't help feeling that the Aus government could have tried harder but had no desire to. Rather they have taken the stance, let this man hang,
The government are seemingly thinking that if this man hangs, it will be a lesson and example to others that may follow the smuggling path to quick
riches, let it be a warning not to export/import drugs. One sacrifice to scare others. I would say the execution will be televised somehow or a video
secretly released on the Internet to really serve as a warning.
As Jack Boot's Johnny says, it is a terrible reminder of the tough drug laws in Asia.
Plea for clemency - Can you commute his sentence to life? No... Ok then...
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