Monday, October 31, 2005

Life and death sentences

Amnesty International Australia is trying to save the life of an Australian man, Van Tuong Nguyen, facing execution by hanging in Singapore for drug trafficking.

Whatever you might think about his case (it's a sad story: he was apparently trying to help pay off his brother's debts by drug-running, no doubt contributing to other family tragedies and possible deaths with the drugs he carried), Singapore has the highest per-capita execution rate in the world:

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation of one of the most fundamental of human rights: the right to life. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and there is no escaping the risk of error, which can lead to the execution of an innocent person. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has called for the death penalty to be eliminated for drug-related offences. In April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) renewed calls upon all states that retain the death penalty to abolish it completely and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions.

If you'd like to add your voice to the Amnesty calls, relevant email addresses and a sample letter are available here.