[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Oct 22 10:25:43 CDT 2005
Amnesty bid to save Australian on death row
Amnesty International says it is appalled at the imminent execution of an
Australian drug runner and is appealing to Singapore to spare his life.
Melbourne man Nguyen Tuong Van, who was convicted on heroin smuggling
charges, could be hanged as early as next Friday after losing his final
clemency appeal, civil rights groups say.
The 25-year-old sales executive was convicted of trying to smuggle almost
400 grams of heroin into Singapore in December 2002.
He had told police he was smuggling the drugs to help pay off a debt owed
by his twin brother.
Spokesman for the Australian chapter of Amnesty International, Tim
Goodwin, said the group was appealing to Singapore's cabinet to reconsider
its decision to impose the death sentence on Nguyen.
"This decision is also a blow to the growing number of people in Singapore
and around the world who believe the country should instead be moving to
abolish this cruel and inhuman punishment," he said in a statement.
"While an overwhelming majority of countries have rejected the death
penalty, Singapore has a shocking record, hanging more than 420 people
since 1991," he said.
"With a population of just over 4 million, it has the highest execution
rate in the world."
Mr Goodwin said Singapore's Misuse of Drugs Act specifies a mandatory
death sentence for at least 20 different offences.
"This is the real impact of Singapore's mandatory death sentences," he
"The courts have no discretion to consider any mitigating factors, which
can result in decisions which are completely disproportionate to the
circumstances of the case."
Think Centre, a group campaigning for greater political freedoms in
Singapore, said Nguyen could be executed as early as next Friday.
Iraqi Prez not opposed to Saddam's death penalty
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he was not opposed to the death for
ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, currently on trial for crimes against
humanity, but would not sign the decree to authorise it.
"I will not sign, neither his sentence nor that of anybody else," Talbani
told italian newspaper Il Corriere Della Sera, before adding, "I didn't
say that I would be opposed to this sentence".
"I will take a day off (the day a decree has to be signed). The two other
Vice Presidents can sign, if they want to. We have already acted in this
way more than a dozen times," the Iraqi President said.
Opposed to the death penalty, Talabani had indicated at the beginning of
the month that Saddam Hussein deserved to "die a hundred Times".
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