Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Thales

Singapore To Execute An Australian

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I just came across this story.

Key excerpt:

By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Writer

SINGAPORE - The family of an Australian man convicted of drug trafficking visited him Thursday, hours before his scheduled execution, and Singapore's prime minister ruled out a reprieve. Nguyen Tuong Van is scheduled to hang early Friday morning (5 p.m. EST) at the maximum-security Changi Prison.

Nguyen, 25, received a mandatory death sentence after he was caught in 2002 at Singapore's airport on his way home to Melbourne carrying about 14 ounces of heroin.

Singapore refused repeated pleas from Australian leaders for clemency for Nguyen, saying the sentence must be carried out because drug trafficking is a serious offense that ruins lives.

In Berlin, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the execution would go ahead as planned.

This is utterly barbaric. I can't see any justification for Australia letting this happen, or being diplomatic about it. They need to get tough :ninja: on Singapore, big time. This guy has the inalienable right to his life, and they are going to take it, because he had some heroin on his possession!

It also reminded me of a story about an Australian woman who was place in prison for 20 years for smuggling marijuana, and could have faced the death penalty.

http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/14201.html

BY CHRIS BRUMMITT | Associated Press

May 27, 2005

BALI, Indonesia (AP) - An Australian woman was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for smuggling nine pounds of marijuana onto Indonesia's Bali island, prompting her mother to shout "Liar!" at the judge and her nation's prime minister to express sympathy.

Schapelle Corby, 27, wept as the verdict was announced in a case. She could have faced the death penalty, but prosecutors requested a life sentence.

This whole idea about respecting the sovereignty of another country has to have limits. This sort of thing is stomach turning. :worry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm confused, why is this meant to be worse than countries like Britain and America handing out long jail sentences for drug smuggling? 14 ounces is a fairly significant amount of heroin; youre probably talking about a street price of over $80000. Do you think that he'd have got away with community service in the US or something?

Edited by Hal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pardon me for point out the obvious, but a death penalty is more serious than a jail term.

I wonder what the typical sentence for being a "mule" with 14 ounces would be in the U.S. Anyone know? Indeed, I wonder what the sentence would be in Australia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pardon me for point out the obvious, but a death penalty is more serious than a jail term.
"One doesnt bargain over inches of evil". A country that hands out long jail terms for drug smuggling does not have the moral authority to condemn one which hands out death sentences.

I wonder what the typical sentence for being a "mule" with 14 ounces would be in the U.S. Anyone know? Indeed, I wonder what the sentence would be in Australia.
Well, from http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/public...factsht/heroin/

In FY 2001, the average length of sentence received by Federal heroin offenders was 63.4 months,
I would assume that smuggling 14 ounces was more serious than the average heroin offence. Edited by Hal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm confused, why is this meant to be worse than countries like Britain and America handing out long jail sentences for drug smuggling? 14 ounces is a fairly significant amount of heroin; youre probably talking about a street price of over $80000. Do you think that he'd have got away with community service in the US or something?

They aren't nearly that barbaric.

Check this site out: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/public...factsht/heroin/

Note that average sentence received. It should also be understood that the length of a sentence is not the same thing as time served. Time served can be much less, half or a third IIRC, of the actual sentence. Here is an excerpt from that link:

Corrections

In FY 2001, the average length of sentence received by Federal heroin offenders was 63.4 months, compared to 115 months for crack cocaine offenders, 88.5 months for methamphetamine offenders, 77 months for powder cocaine offenders, 38 months for marijuana offenders, and 41.1 months for other drug offenders. According to a 1997 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of Federal and State prisoners, approximately 10% of Federal and 12.8% of State drug offenders were incarcerated for an offense involving heroin or other opiates.

Drug laws are wrong anyway, but Singapore has taken them to a ridiculous extreme, as has Indonesia. The death penalty, Hal. That's what they're handing out.

Drug use is a stupid thing, but it's a bad personal choice, nothing more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Call me paranoid, but it is this one of the reasons I avoid travelling to those countries. It wouldn't be hard for the luggage handlers at the origin airport to stuff some drugs into my luggage, in order to use me as an 'unaware mule'. Imagine getting the death penalty due to no fault of your own...

As far as the guy from the story, I don't pity him at all. The fact that there should be no drug laws aside, he knew what he was getting into, and if nobody planted drugs on him, all I can say is dura lex, sed lex...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Check this site out: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/public...factsht/heroin/

Note that average sentence received. It should also be understood that the length of a sentence is not the same thing as time served. Time served can be much less, half or a third IIRC, of the actual sentence. Here is an excerpt from that link:

According to this CATO report, federal drug offenders are required to serve at least 85% of their sentence. They also mention a case where:

Brenda Valencia, a 19-year-old with no prior convictions, or even any evidence of involvement in drug sales, drove her aunt from Miami to a drug dealer's home in Palm Beach County. For that she was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, which the sentencing judge, Federal District Judge Jose Gonzalez, Jr., termed "an outrage."(61)
, a story which seems to be confirmed on other sites such as here.

This page on the PBS site states that the mandatory minimum sentence in the US for possessing 1kg of heroin (just over twice the amount possessed by the person in Singapore) is 10 years. This seems to be confirmed here. I assume that smuggling is more frowned upon than possession.

This press release from the DoJ also discusses people who have been distributing 1kg of heroin each. Look at the mandatory minimum sentences and fines towards the bottom of the page.

Drug laws are wrong anyway
I agree. What I'm questioning is the claim that this is significantly worse than current American policy. I suppose you could argue that 10 years in prison is preferable to a death sentence (although I'm not convinced that this is even true, given the reportedly high incidence of (eg) prison rape in federal prisons), but it hardly constitutes a moral highground. Edited by Hal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been living in Asia since 1994, and what many of the reported smuggling arrests are when the person is leaving the country. That Australian girl sentenced in the linked site above was not entering the country when arrested for smuggling. She was traveling from an Indonesian city to another Indonesia city.

When you buy a large quantity of drugs, the dealer can guess your intentions. If you pay him, the customs would never know to look for you. How many times have you been searched on a domestic or outbound flight in Asia? Doesn't happen? Since the Bali bombings, it may have changed.

Anytime you see an arrest for drugs in South East Asia, read the article carefully on what they were doing when arrested. If they were leaving the country, they failed to pay the protection money. If they were entering the country, they probably made the inspectors think they were drug addicts. I have been through the airport in Bangkok maybe 50 times, and I have never been searched. I try to hand in the "Customs Declaration Form" and I am brushed aside to stop bothering them. I can only remember seeing one guy being searched entering the country. Entering the US, I have been searched maybe 10 times already. There is something odd.

Even after you are caught, you can still buy your way out of it. About 8 years ago, there was another Australian "mule" {tears of sarcasm in my eyes} that vanished from prison. Her father happened to be in the Australian government.

Back to the point, the punishment should fit the crime. Since the crime was against an the abstract state or society, the penalty should be equal to the loss of the victim - nothing, since it is an abstraction.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since the crime was against an the abstract state or society, the penalty should be equal to the loss of the victim - nothing, since it is an abstraction.

I don't understand what you are saying. What is an "abstract state"? As opposed to what? Some examples of both might help clarify your point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see why it would be profitable to smuggle drugs into Singapore, but what I don't get about this, is why was he trying to get the drugs out? Wouldn't it be better to fly to some other country, like Afghanistan, where you wouldn't end up getting killed and have better chances of bribery? He's really asking for the Darwin Award...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some examples of both might help clarify your point.
If I sell you drugs that are mixed with rat poison and you die while using them, there is a victim. So, there is a crime. Most importantly, the victim exists organically. It isn't only an abstraction.

If I smuggle drugs into a country, who is the victim? The prosecution will say that it is a crime against society. What is true of a concept, society in this case, has to be true of the concepts beneath it in the hierarchy. What is true of animal is true of mammal. What is true of shape is true of square. What is true of metaphysics is true of everything.

If the crime is against society, I only need to find one person that the crime is not against to prove it is a contradiction. Evidently, the person on trial is not a victim of his own actions. If he is not a victim of his own actions, he is not a victim as proclaimed to be by the state. Therefore there is no crime against society.

If they are going to give the death penalty, they should at least have a victim. If you have a victim, you will be able to identify the crime that was committed. If the crime committed deserves death, so be it. If they can't get the victim, the organic society, in the court room without using a particular individual, there is a contradiction since the defendant's actions of providing for him family disprove their claim.

Edited by slave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a Singaporean, so I have lived with the knowledge of the drug laws my whole life, so I am not shocked by it.

I do not see why the death penalty for drug possession is wrong. Drug use here is all but unheard of, and most, if not all use of it is kept underground, and if you believe the reports, are being slowly stamped out as we speak. I do not think drugs should be allowed on the basis that it is addictive in nature, a bad personal choice that can have dire consequences on more than the individual concerned. Furthermore, it is unnecessary, and one would have to go through quite a bit of trouble to acquire drugs in Singapore. So people are deterred from using drugs. To make it short, I think the harsh drug laws in Singapore have benefited Singapore as a whole. Everyone benefits, except the drug smugglers. So it might be said that it is in our selfish interest to ban drugs. It is hard to argue from an individualistic standpoint on this, but if allowing drugs, like allowing guns would result in long term negative effects, wouldn't it be better to ban them? I would have you know beforehand that I have read our first prime minister's memoir, and he clearly states that his methods are pragmatic in nature.

This is irrelevant, but an interesting tidbit of knowledge: Singapore also bans gambling. Well, large scale organised gambling, anyway. We have, however, recently opened a casino. Bad news for gamblers is that it costs about an extra hundred dollars for Singaporeans to play in the casino.

I look forward to your responses, please correct any errors I might have made.

Edited by Xavier Koh Yan Hui

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do not see why the death penalty for drug possession is wrong.
Because it is unjust (not "proportional") and because possession of drugs is not wrong. Whether or not it is good for a person or bad is irrelevant to the central question -- whose rights does it violate to possess drugs? Nobody's. Nothing else is relevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark me on the side that recognizes that the Death Penalty is generally worse than a prison sentence.

Only if you're the criminal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a rumour going around that both Customs and Federal Police here are in the habit of deliberately not stopping drug mules going to death-penalty countries and informing their counterparts in those countries instead. I doubt that's true, but if it is then the Commonwealth Attorney General here should be dragging people over the coals for it.

JJM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is utterly barbaric. I can't see any justification for Australia letting this happen, or being diplomatic about it. They need to get tough ;) on Singapore, big time.

How would Australia go about being tough on Singapore :ninja: ? Australia and what army? Australia and what air-force?

Bob Kolker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...