An Australian was murdered today

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by .Andy, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #1
    At 6:00am before the sun rose in Singapore today, an Australian citizen, Van Nguyen, was hanged to death for his crime of heroin trafficking.

    This is the first Australian citizen to be condemned to death for 12 years, with Australia rejecting the use of the death penalty in 1973. Singapore has a zero-tolerance stance to drug crime, and as such, as soon as Van was found with drugs strapped to his body his fate was sealed. His crime was heinous there is no doubting that, but there can also be no doubt that death is disproportionate to any crime.

    I was born and have grown up in a country and have never known the death penalty. I don't understand the barbarity involved in justifying an individuals murder in the name of the state. I don't understand how people can convince themselves that the death of a criminal is just, right, and achieves anything.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #2
    Death penalties suck and are a sign of a culturally underdeveloped country. However if you break the law on someone else's turf, then you've gotta play by their rules.

    As for the request to have a minute silence for this joker, who are we kidding. :rolleyes:
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    regrettable, certainly. but i really have to question the wisdom of anyone trying to smuggle drugs through singapore, their policy is quite clear. e.g.
    link
     
  4. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #4
    I agree with you both on that he was absolutely stupid or ignorant to traffic through Singapore.

    But I just can't buy into it's their laws and we just have to accept it. I've tried to justify it on those grounds but find it impossible. Because it is law does not make it just. I find the whole idea of a zero-tolerance, mandatory death sentence totally unacceptable for any countries legal system.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    i agree with you.

    i'd like to see singapore, but there's a part of me that's somewhat apprehensive. i mean, i like to chew gum.

    i do recall an american youth, years ago, receiving a caning for spraypainting graffiti. there was a huge uproar here about the punishment not fitting the crime, but the caning went ahead. not that it compares with what happened today, though.
     
  6. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #6
    Having said that, there is the deterrent factor of a good beating if caught for those painting or scratching graffiti onto windows; far better than the minimal fine (which they pay at £5 a week) or community service (that they skive out of) in the UK.

    I don't agree with the death penalty as a rule (I waver occasionally when I hear of mass-murderers who have no remorse) but each country sets their own laws and penalties. While the USA, as the biggest first-world country, has the death penalty on its books, it's going to be hard to convince any other nation that it's barbaric enough to get rid of.

    However, he committed a crime knowing the penalty, and was caught. He was tried under their system and executed, not murdered. I suspect there would have been more of an outcry if he'd committed theft in the Middle East and had a hand cut off. To most people, that would likely seem mor barbaric.
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #7

    The issue isn't agreeing with their laws. The idea is that as a guest in their country, he must follow their rules and suffer their consequences if/when they're broken. I agree it's not just, but it's not like our own legal system is that way inclined either. I completely understand why it's getting to you though. :(
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #8
    But in the US, the parents are anti-spanking/beating ... so that would get a bigger media storm than outright shooting the little brat.
     
  9. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #9
    But then aren't you making the assumption that physical violence does more good than harm? Seems an odd line to take because of the difficulty of enforcing community service programs. And like always the deterrant issue is debatable - it cannot be taken for granted.

    I don't agree with you on the death penalty for non-remorseful mass-murderers. I just can't see how it would achieves anything besides misguided vengence. Unfortunately I agree with you here on the US role model thing. And recently we can add to that list indefinite detention without trial, pro-torture, and pre-emptive invasion of a country.

    I'm going to stick with calling it murder. It's perhaps hyperbole but that's what it is from my point of view as I can't see the justification.
     
  10. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #10
    He was an IDIOT for smuggling drugs through Singapore. Not to mention, he was scum for being a drug smuggler in the first place.

    That said, what do you expect the Singaporeans to do when they catch foreigners smuggling drugs through their country? Lock them in a Singaporean prison and bill their home country for the expense of incarceration (or worse, eat the cost of incarceration themselves)? Send them back to their home country to be imprisoned there, knowing full well that the home country will likely just release them or coddle them in a comfy prison? Or should they do what they currently do, which is to execute people who commit what they consider heinous crimes?

    I know you may not approve of capital punishment, but illegal drugs kill. Trafficking in heroin is no different to me than shooting someone with a gun.
     
  11. devman macrumors 65816

    devman

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    #11
    At the start I felt the same way. As this played out my feelings are less clear.

    He was only in-transit through Singapore. He did it to help his brother who was in trouble. He was a first-time offender. No prior drug offences. No prior criminal history. No prior anything - he was squeaky clean. His chances of reform were very good. He was killed this morning.
     
  12. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #12
    Looks like we all agree what he did was wrong and he's a complete nutbag for doing it.

    There are a few issues you raise here calyj. As far as eating the cost of incarceration - are you justifying execution because it's a cheaper option? That's of course morally bankrupt. And you are quick to dirty the idea of a prisoner exchange. Why do you think this wouldn't work? Of course it does not apply in the case of the death penalty, but negotiations for life in prison would be just that - Life in prison. Why do you think a country would overturn the imposed sentence? And where does this idea of a "comfy prison" come from? Deprivation of liberty for the remainder of your natural life is horrific. Prison isn't a holiday.

    Wow. You're almost sounding like a liberal there clayj ;)! So the heroin addicts are nothing more than innocent victims of their circumstance? Either way - wouldn't life in prison be just as effective as death from stopping Van smuggling? And from that I take it you are anti-gun ownership as well?
     
  13. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #13
    There's no need to insult me.

    Heroin USERS are not the same as heroin TRAFFICKERS. Here in the US, the law is quite clear about the difference... having enough to USE merits a less harsh punishment than having so much that you're obviously selling the stuff.

    And life in prison vs. a death sentence... obviously, the Singaporeans (and many US states) have come to the conclusion that life in prison is NOT just as effective as a death sentence. Unfortunately, there are far too many death row inmates here in the US for whom the appeals process has dragged on WAY too long. If 50 people see you shoot up a McDonald's and the case is open-and-shut, execution should follow pretty quickly. Enough of this 25-years-on-death-row BS.

    Singaporean law is quite clear: Drug trafficking carries a death sentence if you're convicted. Please point out the subclauses in that law that say it's OK if you're a first-time offender, or if you're helping someone else, or if you have no priors.

    My advice to anyone who might find themselves carrying illegal drugs: Stay the hell out of Singapore.

    (And in case you're wondering, I wouldn't go there myself except for perhaps a quick visit. Frankly, I'm worried that I might get popped for breaking some law that I *didn't* know about, like spitting on the sidewalk.)
     
  14. iGary Guest

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  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #15
    dunno about spitting, but among the no-no's:
    1. chewing gum
    2. holding hands in public
    3. being seen naked

    for #3, i heard about a case (sorry, no link) of a guy who was spotted walking around naked in his apartment. apparently, his curtains weren't completely shut.
     
  16. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #16
    It would be if it weren't for the endless rounds of appeals.

    When someone very clearly has committed a heinous murder and they're dead-to-rights (no pun intended), the number of appeals should be VERY limited. For example, the Columbine killers were OBVIOUSLY guilty in every possible way; mentally ill or no, the gravity of their crime would demand a rapid execution.

    Well, now you have no credibility at all. ;)
     
  17. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #17
    Actually, 70% of the costs are trial costs, not appeals.

    I just don't think the state has any right offing people. I'm not anti death penalty by any means, I just think it is another area that the government need not be involved with.
     
  18. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #18
    I don't know about that, I'm sort of glad he's not providing links to stories and pictures about nude men. :eek:
     
  19. devman macrumors 65816

    devman

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    #19
    Duh, really... noone is arguing about what their law says. The disucssion is about whether the law itself is right or not. So any law is ok is it - after all it's their country and their laws/policies? Hitler was ok then, since he was the ruler and he set the policy. It's ok too that Aung San Suu Kyi is locked up in Mayanmar, after all it's their country and they set the law that says you are not allowed to speak against the rulers.

    Amazing. If it's the law, it's the law. No law is ever wrong or ever needs modification.

    That's confusing. I thought your position was no to carry drugs in the first place. It's the same as carrying a gun, or... Why would you advise a drug carrier how to avoid unjust punishment (by telling them to avoid Singapore)?

    Ah, but it's their country and their law clayj. Your ignorance of it and whether the punishment fits the crime and its circumstances is irrelevant...
     
  20. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #20
    :D

    I never said they were the same as traffickers. You drew an anaology that places traffickers the same as murderers pulling the trigger. That placed the heroin users as murder victims. Obviously you see the flaws in your anaology now.

    I agree that selling the stuff should attract tough penalties as well. What about this case though where the trafficker was NOT selling. He was merely a drug mule and cooperated giving long and detailed evidence to the police against the masterminds of the operation. Would it not be better he lived and gave evidence against them in court? That way possibly the suppliers and the high-level organisers would go down....a much more effective way to cut supply.

    What if there are extraneous circumstances in a case? Should that not come into the courts deliberations or is mandatory death acceptable? What if that man who shot up McDonalds was mentally ill? What if he had to do it under duress to save a busload of school kids from a bomb? Hyperbole hypotheticals are fun but really don't get anywhere do they....But what if the mule is under duress? There's nine Australians in Bali at the moment facing the death penalty as well - many of them claim that they went to Bali on holiday and then were placed under duress that their families would be killed if they didn't bring back heroin. It's not as open and shut as you'd like to make it.

    Don't need to worry about this. They sell really cool T-shirts at the airport with all the laws that you might break on it. I kid you not;)
     
  21. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #21
    As Eddie Izzard said, as long as dictators kill and mess with their own people, we're sorta fine with that: pre-WW II Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, etc. But when they start attacking their neighbors, they've gone too far.

    Seriously, though, you've taken my words and twisted them. I clearly did not say that the law is the law and that's all there is to that. But you have to respect the law that's in place as you work to get it changed.

    I didn't say that.

    Again with the twisting. If you're stupid enough to carry drugs, you should at least show enough self-awareness to stay away from the place where carrying them can earn you a trip to the firing squad.

    Hence, I won't be going there. Was I unclear about that?

    You sure did a good job twisting my words around and implying I said things that I did not.
     
  22. devman macrumors 65816

    devman

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    #22
    3 is correct and not that rare over there. Lots of peoople live in high-rises directly facing each other. If you don't close your curtains...

    Also, more than 4 people in a group can constitute a demonstration which is also illegal. There were people that wanted to hold a candelight vigil outside Changi prison last night, but they were too afraid to do it for too long and with no more than two people at a time...
     
  23. devman macrumors 65816

    devman

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    #23
    Far out.. vote 1 clayj...

    Disingenuous.

    I pointed out some of the circumstances and context and you said

     
  24. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #24
    I don't believe my analogy is flawed; the problem is that you're trying to extend it in a way that shouldn't be done. Heroin users make a conscious choice to use an illegal substance; I'm not aware of any law that makes it illegal to be shot.

    Trafficking does not mean selling, per se: A drug mule is a trafficker regardless of whether he's just the delivery boy or the actual seller. And the problem with him testifying against anyone is that they're NOT likely to go to Singapore and wind up in court. He could give evidence, but there is ZERO chance he'd ever be able to testify against anyone.

    If the mule is under duress, he should have contacted the authorities.

    Side question: Knowing what has been going on in Bali, why do Australians continue to go there on holiday?
     
  25. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #25
    i want one!

    "no lift-urinating." classic.
     

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