2005-12-01 19:47:30 UTC
Why Singaporeans are so willingly to kill the man
in the transit lounge air port with his heroin to carry
to Australia destinaton ? Let AU handle her own crime
by deport him back to AU according to international law
By now, Mr Nguen Tuong Van is near to death by
the Humanity Law of Singapore of hanging. I light a candle for
him, may peace and God be with you
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COMPOSED and thinking good things . . . Nguyen Tuong Van.
Mum held Nguyen's hand for last time
Jamie Walker in Singapore
NGUYEN Tuong Van was due to be woken by his guards at 4am today in
Singapore's Changi Prison.
But with only hours of his young life left, it was doubtful the
Melbourne man would have slept at all.
The countdown to his execution at 8am Queensland time was to begin with
Nguyen showering and being served a simple breakfast of bread, fruit
and coffee. A Catholic priest was due to come to his cell to pray with
His last moments were expected to proceed as things do in Singapore:
methodically, with almost sterile efficiency.
The one comfort he was permitted yesterday was to hold hands with his
heartbroken mother, Kim, and twin brother, Khoa.
Mrs Nguyen had wanted to hug her son, but her request for physical
contact was rejected because the Singaporeans consider it to be too
destabilising. Only after an appeal by Prime Minister John Howard, did
local authorities agree to allow the condemned man to touch hands with
his mother, a pitifully sad gesture of goodbye.
As is the practice in Singapore, no outside witnesses were to be
present at Nguyen's hanging.
His lawyers Lex Lasry, QC, and Julian McMahon continued to fight to the
bitter end, making last-ditch pleas to senior Singaporean Government
officials yesterday in a seemingly futile effort to secure a reprieve.
After his final visit with Nguyen, an emotional Mr Lasry said: "I think
the thing that strikes me about this is that we are looking into the
eyes of a healthy, 25-year-old man with so much to offer, who is going
to die a violent death."
Mr McMahon described Nguyen's state of mind as "beautiful" and said he
was cheerful and composed.
"He only wishes to think good thoughts, say good things and do what is
right," Mr McMahon said.
"He is completely rehabilitated, completely reformed, completely
focused on doing what is good and now they are going to kill him."
Nguyen said farewell to his mother, brother, and school friends,
Bronwyn Lew and Kelly Ng, in a four-hour meeting yesterday before being
returned to his isolation cell.
Mrs Nguyen left the jail, her head covered by a white scarf.
She was escorted to a waiting car, along with Khoa, by Australian
embassy officials who wrapped their arms around the distraught woman.
It was the last time she was to see her condemned son.
Local lawyer and anti-death penalty campaigner M. Ravi said Nguyen's
legal team should have still applied to a court to give Mrs Nguyen the
comfort of hugging her son.
"No judge in Singapore would stop a mother from doing that," he said.
"The courts are not that cruel."
Mr Ravi has had two clients executed under Singapore's mandatory death
policy for hard drug trafficking and knows the routine of those final
harrowing hours on Changi's death row.
Nguyen has been in Changi for the past three years since he was
arrested with almost 400g of heroin. He had been trying to board a
Qantas flight to Melbourne with the drugs strapped to his body and
inside his hand luggage, but it was discovered as he walked through a
Baring the near-miracle of a death's-door reprieve, Nguyen would be
dressed in standard prison garb of white shirt and shorts before being
taken to a holding cell about 20m from the gallows.
As dawn broke, he would have been told it was time.
A black hood would be pulled over his head and his hands cuffed behind
Four guards would have escorted him to the gallows where, according to
Mr Ravi, a nylon noose was to be fitted around his neck.
Between 6 and 6.30am (local time), justice Singapore-style would have
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OVERCOME . . . a distraught Kim Nguyen is comforted by Liz Lasry, wife
of lawyer Lex Lasry, after visiiting for the last time her condemned
son Tuong Van Nguyen at Singapore's Changi Prison yesterday.
Nguyen hanging to traumatise guards
Russell Robinson in Singapore
GUARDS on death row in Singapore's Changi prison will be "very upset"
by the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van, according to the lawyer of the
convicted Melbourne drug trafficker.
Lex Lasry, QC, said the guards had cared for Nguyen and treated him
like a son.
"They're going to be very upset," he said.
"They work in death row on the ground and they feel it. Van and these
men have a great relationship and I've seen evidence of it during the
course of our visits.
"Yesterday, a couple of prison officers arrived with a bag of food for
him, which was chocolates and those sorts of things. That's the way
they try to bestow some sort of privileges on him."
Nguyen was to be executed at 6am (8am Queensland time) today, after
spending his final night praying with a priest.
"He loves the 23rd Psalm and that will figure in the last hours," Mr
"He's determined to go out with strength and optimism."
Speaking just hours after paying his last visit with Nguyen, Mr Lasry
said the young Australian would not be shackled when taken to the
"He'll walk to the gallows and he'll walk confidently," he said.
"He'll have Rosary beads and he'll have people with him. He genuinely
thinks he's going somewhere good."
Nguyen's body will be taken from the prison several hours after the
execution, when he is pronounced dead and a formal identification of
the body is made.
A special vehicle, arranged by the Australian embassy and his lawyers,
will then take Nguyen's body out of the prison to prepare for the
flight home to Melbourne where a special funeral service will be held.
Mr Lasry last night reflected on his relationship with the client he
and their supporters simply call Van. He said Nguyen had been spending
considerable time writing letters to his family, friends and
"His cell, which he calls his room, is filled with photographs and
writing gear all around," Mr Lasry said.
"He told Julian McMahon (his other Melbourne lawyer) that he measures
his time in jail by the time that a Biro lasts, which is 16 to 18 days.
"Of course, that's over."
His twin brother Khoa spent considerable time visiting him yesterday,
wearing all-white clothes, the traditional symbol of mourning.
When he was arrested three years ago with almost 400g of heroin
strapped to his body and inside his hand luggage, Nguyen claimed he had
acted as a drug mule to help pay Khoa's debts.
Yesterday, Mr Lasry said Khoa, who has maintained his silence, was
feeling "somewhat solitary" and wanting some time to himself.
"It must be terribly difficult for him, particularly as he looks to his
future and particularly being a twin," he said. "I think the wrench
that will be involved in the death of his brother will be amazing."
Mr Lasry said before the trial he offered to plead to a charge which
would have given Nguyen more than 20 years behind bars.
"For a boy of 22, it's a pretty savage sentence, and it's way in excess
of any sentence a judge would impose in Australia," he said. "And the
fact it's in Singapore doesn't make it right."