It is very well-known that the Australian Government is contradictory on its stance on the death penalty. With regards to Nguyen Van Tuong’s impending hanging in Singapore, the Australian government cannot convincingly argue on moral grounds when it also supports the death penalty for the Bali bombers.
The severity of their crimes notwithstanding, if you oppose the death penalty then you have to oppose it outright. You cannot pick and choose which criminals deserve to die and still claim the moral high ground.
Whether or not you believe in the death penalty, Nguyen knew the risks and the choice was his own to make. The Singaporean Government cannot let Nguyen off because it sends the wrong message to other foreigners thinking about trafficking drugs in or through Singapore.
That said, Singapore has dealings with a known Burmese drug lord while publicly condemning drug traffickers to death. Contradiction? You be the judge.
A prominent Singaporean opposition figure, Dr. Chee Soon Juan recently voiced his thoughts on this in the Sydney Morning Herald. He was also interviewed on Hack @ Triple J last Friday – the podcast is available for download here till the 25th of Nov, 2005. After which, you can listen to it here.
For balance, the connection between the Singaporean Government and the Burmese drug trade has also been reported in Asia Times.
And while the mules sit on death rows throughout SE Asia, the Mr. Bigs of the drug world continue to peddle misery and death.