Australian citizen executed by Singapore for drug conviction

[JURIST] Convicted drug trafficker and Australian citizen Van Tuong Nguyen [Wikipedia profile] was executed by Singapore Thursday, despite a strong plea for clemency submitted by the Australian government to the president of Singapore. Nguyen was caught with 14 ounces of heroin at Singapore's Changi Airport in 2002, a crime invoking a mandatory death sentence under the Misuse of Drugs Act [text]. Singapore has executed over 100 people for drug related offenses since 1999, and has granted clemency to 6 people, all Singaporean citizens, since 1965. Nguyen's death sentence by hanging has been a cause celebre for the Australian people, hundreds of whom participated in a candlelight vigil [AAP report] outside Australia's Parliament House in Canberra to pray for clemency. A group of several hundred lawyers convened [AAP report] in the middle of Melbourne's legal district to protest the mandatory death penalty and show support for the Australian lawyers who spent three years fighting to block Nguyen's execution. Aa recent Morgan Poll survey nonetheless found that 47 percent of Australians believe Nguyen should be put to death, compared to 46 percent who believe he should not, with six percent unsure. Australia eliminated the death penalty in 1973. Reuters has more. News.com Australia has local coverage.

 

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