[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Dec 2 15:59:24 CST 2005
Kyrgyz deputies want to reinstate death penalty
Kyrgyz parliamentarians want the president to consider reducing the
timeframe for the country's moratorium on the death penalty.
"A suggestion to lift the moratorium was formulated after a parliamentary
commission examined the situation in penitentiaries," deputy Alisher
Sabirov told journalists on Friday.
Kyrgyzstan introduced a moratorium on the death penalty in 1998 and has
extended it annually. Ex-Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev's resolution
prolonging the moratorium expires in late December 2005.
Nguyen hanged at dawn
The deadline has passed for the execution of Australian drug trafficker
Nguyen Tuong Van, who was to be hanged at Singapore's Changi Prison at 6am
local time (9am AEDT).
He was expected to be led to the gallows in a hood, but was not believed
to be shackled in accordance with his final wish.
Nguyen's mother Kim and twin brother Khoa, as well as his lawyers Lex
Lasry QC and Julian McMahon were at the prison but were not allowed to
witness the execution.
Mr Lasry said although Nguyen had accepted his fate, he was concerned
about the wellbeing of his family and friends.
"The courage that he's showing runs in the family", Mr Lasry told the Nine
Network's Today this morning.
"For all her fragility, his mother is showing enormous courage in the face
of probably the greatest adversity a mother could ever have to face."
Mr Lasry said although Kim Nguyen was distraught, she had accepted her
son's fate and will deal with it "with courage and fortitude".
Yesterday, the 25-year-old former salesman was photographed posing in
different outfits, and the pictures were handed to his mother as final
Special permission was granted to allow the family to hold hands during
the visit. A request to allow them to hug each other was refused because,
according to Singaporean authorities, "such encounters can be traumatic
and can destabilise the prisoner and their family".
Nguyen was convicted last year of importing almost 400g of heroin into
Singapore in December 2002.
He faced the gallows after all appeals for his clemency, led by Prime
Minister John Howard, were rebuffed. He is the first Australian to be
executed in 12 years. The most recent was Michael McAuliffe, who was
hanged in Malaysia in 1993 on heroin charges.
About 11am local time (2pm AEDT) a hearse will collect his body.
Family, friends and legal team, together with staff from the Australian
High Commission, are expected to hold a commemoration service at a church
in the city-state in the early afternoon.
Candlelight vigils were held around the country to mark the execution.
At Melbourne's St Ignatius Catholic Church, where Nguyen and his brother
once went to school, the bell rang out 25 times, once for each year of
(source: Associated Press)
Appeals fail to save Australian from death penalty in Singapore
Convicted Australian drug trafficker Van Nguyen has been hanged at
Singapore's Changi prison despite high-level bids to save his life.
The government of Singapore issued a statement confirming the execution of
Nguyen was sentenced to death for smuggling nearly 400 grams of heroin
into Singapore in 2002.
The case sparked public outrage in Australia, where capital punishment has
long been outlawed. Singapore turned down repeated pleas for clemency,
including from Australia's Prime Minister John Howard.
Throughout the night supporters and human rights activists laid candles
and cards at the front gate of Changi prison.
Vigils were also held in cities around Australia and church bells sounded
at the scheduled time of the execution.
In Nguyen's home town of Melbourne a mass was held in the church next door
to his former primary school. In Sydney, more than 500 people attended a
vigil where minute's silence was held and a Vietnamese gong was chimed for
each year of Van Nguyen's life.
In Canberra a vigil was held at the Singapore High Commission. People also
attended church services in Brisbane, Darwin and Perth.
On Thursday, Van Nguyen's mother Kim visited her son for the last time,
who was allowed to hold hands with her son. She sobbed and was comforted
by officials from the Australian High Commission as she was helped to a
waiting vehicle outside the prison.
Shortly before the execution, lawyer Julian McMahon spoke to reporters
about the last moments between Nguyen and his mother. "Well I actually
wasn't in the room when that happened, but there was a grill and they were
able to hold each other's hands," he said.
"And Kim was able to, at least for some time, I'm not sure how long ... to
touch Van on the face."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has criticized the Singapore
government for not allowing Nguyen's mother to hug her son before his
death. Howard has described Singapore's response to his request as
clinical and very disappointing.
Howard says he hopes the execution sends an anti-drug message as strong as
the arguments against capital-punishment. "I feel desperately sorry for
this man's mother," he said. "I met her. She was understandably in a very
distraught condition. She obviously felt a responsibility for what had
"She was a lady who came to Australia as a refugee from Indochina didn't
have a very happy family life."
(source: CBC News)
Let Nguyen reprieve us from the death penalty----The execution of an
Australian overseas should stay with us always, writes Brett Bowden.
At a recent conference marking the 60th anniversary of the commencement of
the Nuremberg war crimes trials, Sir Ninian Stephen, the former
governor-general and former justice of the High Court, suggested recent
public sentiment in Australia indicated we had turned our back on the
death penalty for good.
Stephen was referring to the outpouring of sentiment and the diplomatic
appeals made in the weeks and days before the scheduled execution of the
convicted drug trafficker and Australian citizen, Nguyen Tuong Van, who
was to have been hanged early this morning in Singapore. Is Stephen's
confidence in the Australian people justified?
Perhaps, rather, it is more the case that Australians are not exactly
overjoyed at the thought of a foreign government executing one of their
own. If the question of the death penalty was put to the Australian people
at a referendum there could be a good chance that it would be
reintroduced. Thankfully, that is unlikely to happen. Both sides of
politics oppose the death penalty as a matter of policy.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the Bali bombings and the subsequent death
penalty issued against the Bali bomber Amrozi, in August 2003 the Prime
Minister, John Howard, said that while he did not support capital
punishment, he knows a lot of people who do.
"I know lots of Australians who believe that a death penalty is
appropriate and they are not barbaric, they're not insensitive, they're
not vindictive, they're not vengeful, they're people who believe that if
you take another's life deliberately then justice requires that your life
be taken," Howard said on Melbourne radio.
Notably, at no time did Howard ask Indonesia not to impose the death
penalty on Amrozi. When Howard was asked in December 2003, following the
capture of Saddam Hussein, if he would support the imposition of the death
penalty on the former Iraqi dictator, he replied: "If it were imposed,
One does not require too much of an imagination to conjure up an emotive
scenario in which a populist appeal for the reintroduction of capital
punishment in Australia would be greeted with cheers of support.
If the death penalty was to be reintroduced in Australia it would have to
be at the behest of the states. Capital punishment was abolished by the
Commonwealth with the Death Penalty Abolition Act of 1973.
Queensland was the first state to abolish the death penalty in 1922; NSW
was the last to do so, in 1985. Although it had abolished the death
penalty for murder in 1955, treason and piracy remained punishable by
death until the passing of the Crimes Amendment (Death Penalty Abolition)
Even in the United States, support for the death penalty is on the slide;
its advocates are at an all time low since it was reintroduced.
It would be a great shame, then, if Australia was to even contemplate
reintroducing capital punishment in the wake of some sort of devastating
attack or seditious act on our soil and in doing so forget the outpouring
of sentiment and sound argument opposed to the needless killing of Nguyen
(source: Sydney Morning Herald)
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