Sunday, December 04, 2005

Nguyen Van Tuong

It angers and saddens me that this young man's life has ended.

It angers and saddens me that comments I have read from the "Asian Online Community" are so misinformed. I did not join the forum to comment - I am not a member and I do not particularly like net forums. I will not link it here because I do not wish to repeat the inanities.

One should not die for a mistake. One should not die for any crime. Whether you are Saddam Hussein (yes I am talking to you Mr Howard, oh prime minister mine) or a young ethnic Viet Australian, the message the death penalty sends is not: "Young people beware drugs" (I paraphrase) but: "We do not value human life."

The right to life is the most basic and most fundamental of human rights.

There has been no convincing argument that the death penalty as deterrent is any more successful than imprisonment.

People in prisons - the world over - are usually the most disadvantaged, the most marginalised and the poor. They will also be the ones most likely to die for crimes relating to drugs or violence if death is the mandated penalty.

The system makes mistakes.

I am yet - and hope never to be - convinced that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for any crime.

Nguyen Van Tuong's death was a waste. My heart is with his family and friends. I know the unreality of losing a loved one to senselessness. But my mind is with Amnesty International. I wish them success in their campaign to end capital punishment all over the world.

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