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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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The first Australian to be executed in 12 years

The first Australian to be executed in 12 years


By Steve Butcher and Connie Levett in Singapore
December 2, 2005



NGUYEN TUONG VAN could only hold his mother's hand in his final hours. They were not allowed to hug or kiss.

Nguyen's mother, Kim, and his twin brother, Khoa, were granted special permission to touch him as they said their last goodbyes yesterday at Singapore's Changi prison, but he had to face the end without them.

He was not completely alone, however. In his hands he held a string of rosary beads and by his side, comforting him, were the prison's priest and the guards. He prayed and was at peace with his world, only saddened that he was leaving behind people who would be heartbroken by his death at 9am Sydney time.

The last Australian executed was Sydney man Michael McAuliffe, who was hanged in Malaysia in 1993, also on heroin charges.

Nguyen spent about six hours with his brother, mother and friends Kelly Ng and Bronwyn Lew. Ms Nguyen had to be helped out of the prison afterwards and all four were too distraught last night to say what took place.

It is understood a perspex wall separated them from Nguyen and they held his hand through a grille box, the type used to pass items to prisoners.

The Singaporean Government said it did not usually allow physical contact because "such encounters can be traumatic and can destabilise the prisoner and their family".

The concession was made after a personal appeal from the Prime Minister, John Howard, to his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong at the weekend. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, described it as "meagre compensation".

Nguyen has been humbled by the support he has received during his three years in jail for drug smuggling. His writing hand would have still been weary from the last letters he hurriedly finished to his loved ones and friends. The 25-year-old from Melbourne was determined to die with strength and optimism - and to remain, in his own words, "one cool guy". He had photographs taken of himself in different suits and poses and had them handed to his mother. He was clear about the way he wanted to be remembered.

The injustice many feel at his execution was conveyed in a measured but pointed tone by one of his barristers, Julian McMahon. He reminded everyone - and the Singaporean Government, which repeatedly refused Nguyen clemency - that his client was rehabilitated, reformed and "focused on doing what is good".

"And now they are going to kill him," he told media outside Changi yesterday morning.

Mr McMahon, who was joined by his colleagues Lex Lasry, QC, and Joseph Thesiera, said: "We have just been with a young man who is in a beautiful state of mind. He is cheerful.

"What I wish to say is that he is a beautiful young man. Cheerful because he is composed. He only wishes to think good thoughts, say good things, do what is right."

Mr Lasry said the legal team had just "looked into the eyes of a healthy young 25-year-old with so much to offer, who is going to die a violent death". "I just want to say we've had a beautiful visit. We are not going to answer questions. We may talk about it later. That's all I want to say. It was a great visit and quite uplifting."

Later he told ABC TV's 7.30 Report: "It's the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my career." He said he would readily take on other death penalty cases "in his memory ... It would be great to be able to tell his story to other people. He's become a beacon for young people who might be tempted to be exploited in this way to overcome the temptation and to transform their lives."

The Australian high commission was on hand to offer Nguyen's family and friends support throughout the day, and picked them up from the prison at 6.30pm Singapore time.

Khoa was the first to come through Changi's glass doors. Dressed in white, he looked sober and ran his fingers through his hair as he got into the first of two waiting consular cars. His mother came next, flanked by Mr McMahon and a consular official, Annette Morris. A headscarf hid Ms Nguyen's face but she was clearly crushed and had to be almost carried to the car.

Inside, with her son, she was comforted by Mr Lasry's wife, Elizabeth. Ms Ng and Ms Lew left last, Ms Lew sobbing as they got into the second car.

Speaking yesterday morning, Mr Lasry said there was less humour between him and Nguyen than on Wednesday. There was some laughter "but not much".

Nguyen had never blamed anyone, felt resentment or expressed any anger.

Mr Lasry said: "He is emotional, as we all are ... I think he's frightened, but not overly frightened, frightened of the actual act of being killed.

"His overwhelming ... feeling he portrays is strength."

He revealed that Nguyen would be supported in his last hours by a priest and his guards. "They treat him like a son. They'll be there with him [and] there's going to be some men in uniform who are going to be very upset tomorrow morning."

The crime
Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, was arrested at Changi Airport with 396.2 grams of heroin strapped to his body. His botched smuggling run was meant to generate cash to pay the debts of his drug-addicted twin.

The punishment
Singapore's drug laws stipulate execution for those caught with more than 15 grams of heroin. The Government insists Nguyen was not a pawn but a criminal with enough drugs to ruin thousands of lives.


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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What do you guys think? Is this right or wrong?

The way I see it nobody makes you take drugs.

Is it any worse then legal drugs and alcohol which kill and ruin just as many lives. Smoking is the number one killer but we don't hang tabacco CEO's
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 02:41 PM
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its totally different. he was smuggling a large amount. wasnt it singapore who caned that american kid for painting grafitti?. i would bet money if we had more harsh punishments our crime rate would drop.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 04:33 PM
 
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if it would save thousands of lives by doing this... I would stand behind it... any parents worst nightmare is finding your kids on drugs... no matter how old your kids are...
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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Cook Em.........
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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Don't cook him....let the aussies take care of him...not the other nation...
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snair
its totally different. he was smuggling a large amount. wasnt it singapore who caned that american kid for painting grafitti?. i would bet money if we had more harsh punishments our crime rate would drop.
oh man I was SO FOR caneing that stoopid kid.. americans where all like no we should do something I was like cane his stupid ass he is in a diff country acting like an idiot..


they should have done more than 10 lashes



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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OffSett
Don't cook him....let the aussies take care of him...not the other nation...
why he commited his crime in singapore
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinn
oh man I was SO FOR caneing that stoopid kid.. americans where all like no we should do something I was like cane his stupid ass he is in a diff country acting like an idiot..


they should have done more than 10 lashes
haha no shit i would have given that little fucker 50 or 60. i bet he would break out in hives if he saw a can of krylon.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2005, 09:20 AM
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That is harsh.

I look at it like this. If I were to visit another country......I would make sure I understood the laws before going. I'm sure this guy new that if he got caught with all that heroin......he would be executed by law. Why would you risk that? I mean the guy obviously wasn't to afraid to die or be executed to do something like that.

Do I personally think the guy deserves to DIE? NO I don't.

But at the same time.........why the hell would you risk strapping a shit load of drugs to you're body knowing full well what the consequences are going to be when you get caught?

I have a hard time feeling bad for the guy. The Friends and family on the other hand.......I'm sorry.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 09:39 AM
 
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if i go to another state and speed, do i need to be punished by my state?
no

if i go to canada and get in a fight, do i need to be punished by my home country for it?
no

and nobody makes smokers do what they do. In fact those very same tobacco CEO's spend HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars to PREVENT smoking.

i don't see any money being soent by Nike on advertising how you ahouldn't buy nike shoes because they are built in malaysian sweatshops where children are worked to death.

laws are laws and if you breake them you get punished.
it doesn't matter if the person is ignorant of them or not.

no body forced him to go to a different country. And i'm sure he was well aware that what he was doing was illegal in most countries in the world.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 10:00 AM
 
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Damn,,,
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 10:06 AM
 
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His botched smuggling run was meant to generate cash to pay the debts of his drug-addicted twin.


what we will do for family.

its sad to see or even read......I sympathize with the man s my entire family has been through total hell with a drug addicted person......thousands upon thousands have been spent on rehabs and lawyers.........literally to the breaking point of my family.....to get spit in our faces. Yet we continue and try........and I think finally the day has dawned upon said person that their time of acting like a 15 year old and doing and selling of drugs is wrong. They have finally chosen a path to redemption and trying to clear their past and more importantly they're future of the evilness of the addiction. Does he have a fight on his hands...yeap. Does he want to stay clean...yeap (I believe so THIS time anyways) I have handed over $$ time and time again to help this person out...and while each time I was fully aware that it wouldnt go anywhere where they said it was going to go.....it was my family...........and I wont turn my back on my family for any reason. So I sympathize with this guy, I know what he was feeling, what he was thinking, why he did what he did. Does it mean he shouldnt have been charged with what he was charged with...No it doesnt...law is law and play....get ready to pay. But it doesnt change my heartfelt sorrow for his family now.....nor does it change the feeling in me of the pain he must have been going through right up to the end.....and if he could stand with his head held high nd have strength and conviction in he is right with the world now...more power to him.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 10:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R1Budha
if i go to another state and speed, do i need to be punished by my state?
no

if i go to canada and get in a fight, do i need to be punished by my home country for it?
no

and nobody makes smokers do what they do. In fact those very same tobacco CEO's spend HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars to PREVENT smoking.

i don't see any money being soent by Nike on advertising how you ahouldn't buy nike shoes because they are built in malaysian sweatshops where children are worked to death.

laws are laws and if you breake them you get punished.
it doesn't matter if the person is ignorant of them or not.

no body forced him to go to a different country. And i'm sure he was well aware that what he was doing was illegal in most countries in the world.

Well said, I cant agree more! When I went overseas in the Marines we all had to be very aware all of the laws. Singapore was no joke!
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-04-2005, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04stangman
Well said, I cant agree more! When I went overseas in the Marines we all had to be very aware all of the laws. Singapore was no joke!
Don't get caught spitting or littering, the fines will give you a heart attack.
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