November 22, 2005
AMONG the increasing number of websites devoted to saving
convicted drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, one relies on a
succinct plea to readers: "Don't let this boy become an
The online campaign for clemency is escalating as the execution,
which the Singaporean Government has set for December 2, draws
Australian Kay Danes, jailed with her husband in Laos in 2001 on
theft charges, has gathered 940 signatures on an online petition to
save Nguyen, while another has gathered 575.
Mrs Danes now runs an advocacy site for Australian prisoners
held overseas, and is helping Nguyen because "everyone deserves a
second chance". She said the response to the campaign had been
One email sent to Singapore's President S. R. Nathan read: "I
pray that you will read my words, and look into your heart, not as
President of your great country, but as a father, and see the
simplest love that drove this young boy to do what he did."
Australian political activism group GetUp! began its email
campaign to save Nguyen on November 3, and is nearing 5000
Another campaign by Reach Out, started by Nguyen's friends Kelly
Ng and Bronwyn Lew, urges readers to send a drawing of their hand
to Nguyen's Singapore jail as a sign of solidarity.
"Even as close friends, we know that his offence requires
imprisonment. However, not execution," they state.
The overall campaign has also had support from within Singapore
— political activism group Think Centre is supporting Nguyen
as part of its campaign to abolish capital punishment.
The issue has had scant coverage in Singapore's Straits
Times, although Prime Minister John Howard's refusal to impose
sanctions on Singapore was top story on its website yesterday.