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Supporters flock to websites
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 obituary."

The online campaign for clemency is escalating as the execution, which the Singaporean Government has set for December 2, draws near.

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 significant.

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 supporters.

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.

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