I beseech with you to please reconsider the situation concerning Van Tuong Nguyen, who has been condemned to death on charges of importing 396.2 grams of heroin into Singapore in March 2004. He was convicted under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against the death sentence in October 2004, and the President rejected his appeal for clemency on 21 October. He is now facing imminent execution. I ask authorities to reassess Nguyens death sentence. Furthermore, I request that Singapore authorities respect the human right to life and act to ensure that the death penalty is not imposed as a mandatory sentence.
I am greatly distressed about the refusal of Nguyens clemency and the Misuse of Drugs Act. I am aware of the crime that Van Tuong Nguyen is sentenced for, and I recognize the Singapore governments responsibility of bringing criminals to justice. However, the Misuse of Drugs Act implies that the burden of proof, or the responsibility to prove ones innocence, shifts from the prosecution to the defense. The death penalty violates one of the most fundamental human rights: the right to life. In addition, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) has strongly encouraged states with the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with eventual plans to abolish it completely.
I urge you, Prime Minister, to reconsider the decision to refuse clemency and to commute Van Tuong Nguyens death sentence. I also highly recommend that a moratorium be imposed on executions with the purpose of abolition. Furthermore, I ask you to take into consideration that the UNCHR urges states with the death penalty not to impose it as a mandatory sentence. Please respect the fundamental human right to life and take action for this situation. Thank you for your attention and I look forward to hearing of your decision in this matter.
Australians are regular travellers to Singapore. We have a very close bond with both your country and your people. I implore you to please spare the life of this young man.