Teams: Inter, Memphis Tigers
Ironic, but good thing the Aussies are coming around. When the situation is reversed, that war on drugs hasn't always been obvious:
Melbourne drug courier to hang (In Singapore)
Sunday Herald Sun ^ | 3-20-04 | Lincoln Wright
AUSTRALIA will seek clemency for a Melbourne man who has been sentenced to death in Singapore for drug trafficking.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said yesterday that Australia had a longstanding policy of opposing the death penalty.
If the appeal of Nguyen Tuong Van, 23, against his death sentence fails, Australia would seek clemency, the spokeswoman said.
"As this matter is before the courts, we are unable to comment further."
Australian High Commission officials had attended the trial of Nguyen in Singapore.
"Nguyen can appeal against the conviction. He's speaking with his lawyers," the department spokeswoman said.
Singapore High Court Judge Kan Ting Chiu read out the death sentence against Nguyen Tuong Van yesterday.
"The sentence of this court is that you be taken from this place to a lawful prison, then to a place of execution where you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead," Judge Kan said.
In January, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer tried to persuade Singapore not to execute Nguyen, a sales executive from Melbourne.
High Commission officials present in court yesterday declined to comment.
Nguyen's Australian lawyer, Lex Lasry, said he would likely appeal against the sentence.
Under Singapore law, anyone possessing more than 15g of heroin is presumed to be trafficking and must be sentenced to death.
Nguyen was arrested after Singapore airport police found heroin taped to his lower back and in his backpack during a routine security check as he prepared to board a flight to Australia in December, 2002.
He was charged with
trafficking almost 400g of heroin.
During his trial, the Singapore court heard Nguyen told police he had agreed to smuggle the drugs from Cambodia to Australia to pay off a massive debt owed by his twin brother.
He was attempting to switch planes in Singapore when he was caught at the boarding gate during a routine security check.
Nguyen was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and his family, who are Vietnamese, emigrated to Australia shortly after his birth, the court was told.
Father San Bart, of the Vietnamese Catholic Community of Huon Thien, said he was saddened by the court's decision.
Father Bart, who does not know Nguyen Tuong Van, said while anyone found guilty of heroin smuggling should be punished, execution was not the answer.
He appealed for the Singaporean judicial system to reconsider the verdict.
If his appeal fails, Nguyen would be the first Australian executed for drug trafficking since 1986, when two Australians were hanged in Malaysia.
But Singapore has a history of ignoring leniency pleas from abroad.
In August 1994, Dutchman Johannes Van Damme was hanged for drug offences in Singapore - despite pleas for clemency from the Dutch government and the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix.
Last year, an Australian woman condemned to death in Vietnam on drug trafficking charges had her sentence commuted to life imprisonment in a presidential amnesty after strong protests from Canberra.
Last edited by Firdaus; February 18th, 2006 at 08:03.