UPDATE (Singapore): Australian confirmed to hang 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-128-2005
ISSUES: Death penalty,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information confirming that Singapore will go ahead with the execution of an Australian man convicted of drug smuggling. As reported in our previous forwarded appeal on 25 October 2005 (FA-33-2005), Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, was sentenced to death for
importing 396 grams of heroin into Singapore. He was convicted under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which carries a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of trafficking in more than 15 grams of heroin.

In October 2004 the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against the death sentence. On 21 October 2005, his appeal for clemency was rejected by Singapore’s President. And now, the Singaporean Foreign Minister has confirmed that the execution of the young man will go ahead, despite please for clemency from the Australian government, and from people protesting worldwide. Although a date has not yet been announced for the execution, it is likely the hanging will be carried out within weeks.

Even though Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) strictly restricts a sentence of death to be imposed only for the “most serious crimes” such as intentional murder, the Singapore government have been using the death penalty for non-violent drug offences. We have previously reported that two Africans were sentenced to death in Singapore on drug trafficking charges (See further: FA-22-2005). Also, in May 2005, a father of two children was hanged amidst the appeals from various human rights organization, including the AHRC, asking for clemency to save his life (for details see: UP-60-2005). There are also a number of other prisoners, including foreign nationals, facing the death penalty in Singapore (please see: UA-24-2003).

The AHRC strongly condemns the action of the Singapore government, which is a violation of the right to life, which is one of the most fundamental of human rights. It is also a clear violation of the ICCPR, which Singapore is a state party.

In light of this, and due to the extreme urgency of saving this young man’s life, we ask that you please write an appeal letter to the President of Singapore calling for moratorium on Nguyen Tuong Van’s execution. Please also urge the Singapore government to abolish the death penalty and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on all executions. We also recommend you to write to the embassies of Singapore in your respective country.

You can also join the Think Centre’s online petition calling for the Singapore government’s moratorium on death penalty at: http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=2657

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)




To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear His Excellency

Please spare the life of young Australian man

I write to you pleading for you to spare the life of an Australian man facing imminent execution in your country. I am aware that Nguyen Tuong Van will be hanged within a matter of only weeks following Singapore’s unwillingness to grant him clemency.

Though I understand that this young man was caught at Changi airport with heroin strapped to his body and in his hand luggage, I am also reminded of the fact that the death sentence is a complete violation of the right to life, which is one of the most fundamental of human rights. It is also a clear violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Singapore is a state party.

I therefore ask you to please show mercy towards this young man, and save him from the execution he now faces. Likewise, I ask that you show mercy to all persons in Singapore facing execution and that you commence measures to have the death penalty abolished.

Yours sincerely,


The President
His Excellency S R Nathan
Office of the President
Istana, Orchard Road
Republic of Singapore 0922
Fax: +65 738 4673
Email: s_r_nathan@istana.gov.sg


1. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Office of the Prime Minister Istana Annexe,
Orchard Road
Fax: +65 732 4627
Email: lee_hsien_loong@pmo.gov.sg 
[Salutation: Dear Prime Minister]

2. Prof. S. Jayakumar
Minister of Law 
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
The Treasury #08-02
Fax: +65 6332 8842
Email: supmlaw@cs.gov.sg 
[Salutation: Dear Minister]

3.  Chan Sek Keong
Attorney General
Attorney General's Chambers
1 Coleman Street #10-00
Fax: +65 6332 5984
[Salutation: Dear Attorney General]

4. Chief Justice Yong Pung How
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Building
St Andrew's Road
Fax: +65 6337 9450
Email: supcourt_registry@supcourt.gov.sg 
[Salutation: Dear Chief Justice]

5. Mr. Philip Alston 
Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions 
Atten: Lydie Ventre 
Room 3-016, c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9155
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (general)

6. Mr. Miles Kupa
High Commissioner to Singapore
Australian High Commission
Level 2, 25 Napier Road
Tel: +65 6836-4100 
Fax: +65 6735-1242

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UP-128-2005
Countries : Singapore,
Issues : Death penalty,