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Aust. government deserts young man to be hanged

Australian government deserts young man due to hang in Singapore

By Mike Head - World Socialist Web Site

A young Australian man will almost certainly be hanged in Singapore at 6 a.m. this Friday after the Australian government made it plain it was prepared to sacrifice his life to bolster its economic and strategic relations with the anti-democratic south-east Asian regime.

Despite pleas from around the world, Van Tuong Nguyen, 25, will be executed under Singapore’s mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, including those people caught working as “mules”.

Over recent weeks, tens of thousands of people, including school students and community groups, in Australia have taken part in “candles of hope” rallies, signed petitions, sent SMS messages and written letters, pleading for a halt to the execution. In Singapore, where public assemblies are forbidden and the government-controlled media has suppressed reportage and discussion, hundreds have nevertheless attended protest meetings. In one instance, authorities censored an anti-hanging art exhibit, removing all references to Nguyen.

In the face of the groundswell of support for the young man, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his key ministers have engaged in hypocritical hand wringing—claiming to oppose the execution, but not even lodging a formal diplomatic protest to Singapore. On Monday, they finally ended the pretence, declaring that there was nothing further they could do.


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