[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Nov 19 22:50:58 CST 2005
Death penalty resentment growing in Singapore
Lawyers for Melbourne man Van Nguyen are in Singapore arranging to meet
with their client for what's likely to be the last time, after learning
that he'll be hanged on December the 2nd.
Lawyers Lex Lasry and Julian McMahon say they aren't giving up efforts to
save their client's life, and they plan to meet with diplomatic officials
But while the grim story has generated intense media coverage and
political reaction here in Australia, it continues to generate minimal
coverage in Singapore.
Still, a Singaporean human rights lawyer has told AM resentment against
the death penalty is slowly growing in his country.
Nick McKenzie reports.
NICK MCKENZIE: Van Nguyen's legal team have arrived in Singapore.
His family and friends will fly over shortly.
They're now preparing their final goodbye messages, although his lawyers
insist that while Nguyen is alive, there's still a chance to save him.
A Singaporean lawyer who's felt their frustration is M Ravi.
He's had two clients executed for drug trafficking, including Shanmugam
Murugesu, who was hanged in Changi prison in May.
M RAVI: From the experience that I have seen from Shanmugam's case, that
going to the prison, everyone just simply just cry, and Shanmugam's mother
was banging her head.
NICK MCKENZIE: M Ravi says the Singaporean media, which is heavily
influenced by the state, has given Nguyen's case very little coverage, and
to much of the public, his is just another story of a drug trafficker
facing Singapore's gallows.
M RAVI: Absolutely biased and so unprofessionally covered, and which is
why it is not surprising that Singapore has reached 147th in the press
freedom index. You know, whatever campaign that we have done my letter to
United Nations, Phillip Ersten (phonetic), nothing has been published.
It's only what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs got to say, what the
Government has got to say, the kind of twisted arguments about western
liberalism and eastern wisdom.
NICK MCKENZIE: M Ravi says with the issue generating minimal public
interest, there's very little hope for Nguyen.
M RAVI: If the Government of Singapore don't even give a damn to Mr
Howard, so what are they going to do in Singapore?
NICK MCKENZIE: But despite the Singaporean Government's refusal to budge
and the minimal mainstream media coverage, lawyer M Ravi says local
resentment, however marginal, is growing to the way the death penalty is
M RAVI: The Singapore Government is very afraid that this itself will
become an election issue because there seems to be quite a number of
discussions since Shanmugam's case.
Since May this year there has been unprecedented debates and two
journalists have also spoken up during Shanmugam's case that mandatory
death sentence is something that the Government should reconsider. And the
fact that a High Court judge formerly, former High Court judge has written
quite a number of articles on this issue.
NICK MCKENZIE: Lawyer M Ravi is urging the Australian Government to engage
in a sustained campaign to fight the use of the death penalty in the
M RAVI: We have Australia as another democratic institution, close to
Asia, which can give us the support and also be a spokesman on this issue.
They don't have to upset Asian nations, we are Asians, we can handle this
issues, but please, do your part.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Human rights lawyer M Ravi speaking to Nick McKenzie.
(source: ABC News)
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