Anger in Australia as Singapore PM rejects Plea
But Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong rebuffed Howard’s fifth appeal for clemency for Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, and refused to allow the International Court of Justice to intervene, Howard told reporters in Malta where the two leaders attended a three-day Commonwealth heads of government meeting.
In a letter to Australian MPs, the Speaker of the Singapore Parliament said an example must be made of Nguyen.
"He was caught in possession of almost 400g of pure heroin, enough for more than 26,000 doses of heroin for drug addicts," Abdullah Tarmugi wrote to his Australian counterpart, David Hawker.
"He knew what he was doing and the consequences of his actions."
"There is broad-based concern in this country that what is going on here is simply not right and (that) we ourselves have things that we want to see Mr Van Nguyen do for us in terms of capturing the Mr Bigs of the drug industry and that simply cannot happen if his life has been terminated in Singapore."
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark also raised Nguyen’s case during informal talks in Malta, media reported.
Singapore has one of the world’s toughest drug laws. Laws enacted in 1975 stipulate death by hanging for anyone aged 18 or over convicted of carrying more than 15 grams (0.5 ounce) of heroin, 30 grams (1.1 ounce) of cocaine, 500 grams (17.6 ounces) of cannabis or 250 grams (8.8 ounces) of methamphetamines.
Amnesty International said in a 2004 report that about 420 people had been hanged in Singapore since 1991, mostly for drug trafficking, giving the city-state of 4.2 million people the highest execution rate in the world relative to population.