Death Penalty: Nguyen Tuong Van appeals

Posted by under Human Rights Watch on 4 April 2005

Nguyen Tuong Van, an Australian, has plead for clemency. Think Centre hopes the President of Singapore will commute Nguyen's death penalty. Think Centre has called for a moratorium on Death Penalty in 2003.The Think Centre opposes the death penalty as a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Think Centre Calls for a moratorium on Death Penalty
Think Centre calls on the government to declare a moratorium on death sentences. And urge the government to plan for gradual abolition of the death penalty and to seek alternatives to the death penalty. The death penalty is a "cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment." Think Centre calls to remove the mandatory capital punishment for simple possession of drugs. The mandatory death sentence must be removed. The laws have to be changed to permit judicial discretion and fairness for drug cases.


AN Australian man on death row in Singapore has pleaded with the island state's president for clemency because he has cooperated with a police investigation into an international drug ring, his lawyer said Thursday, March 17.

Nguyen Tuong Van, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand but whose family is Vietnamese, was arrested in Singapore's Changi airport in December 2002 carrying almost 400 grams of heroin strapped to his lower back and in his backpack.

Since then, he has assisted Australian Federal Police investigations into an Australia-based international drug cartel.

"We've lodged a petition for clemency with the Singapore president," lawyer Lex Lasry said, adding: "There's been a trial, there's been an appeal, this is the last step in the process."

Lasry said Singapore's constitution allowed for leniency if a co-accused gave evidence that led to the conviction of a main offender.

In Nguyen's case, this would be if information he provided could be used to arrest members of the syndicate he was briefly involved with, he said.

Referring to information Nguyen gave investigators, Lasry said: "There was obviously a benefit in that for Australia, but (also) for any Southeast Asian country."

Australian Federal Police confirmed Thursday that they had interviewed Nguyen in relation to an investigation.

Police gave Nguyen's defence team a letter generally given to "people who have assisted with investigations," a spokeswoman told AFP.

The plight of the 24-year-old sales executive from the southern city of Melbourne has also been taken up by Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell who has called on the Pope to plead for Nguyen's life.

"People who have met him and have talked to him say that his repentance is genuine," Pell told ABC radio.

"It was his first oversees trip, he has admitted his guilt right from the start. I have sent off the file to the Holy Father, to Pope John Paul II, asking for his support."

Nguyen, who emigrated to Australia as a child, told police he was smuggling the drugs to help pay off a debt owed by his twin brother. He was sentenced to death last year.

Lasry said he expected Nguyen to know whether his petition has been successful within three months.

Sources and Relevant Links:

Agence France Presse Australian in jail will appeal death penalty: lawyer March 17, 2005

Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty A PLEA TO SAVE THE LIFE

Think Centre Death Penalty: NGUYEN, Vietnamese refugee-cum-scout

Think Centre Think Centre Calls for a moratorium on Death Penalty 19 October 2003

Foreign Prisoner Support Service Australia PM supports clemency bid in Singapore

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