Van Tuong Nguyen on Death Row

Along with all my usual work emails I wrote to Singapore's Prime Minister, Minister for Justice and Attorney General today.

I also wrote to various friends urging them to write too.

Van Tuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese born Australian is facing imminent execution following the rejection of his appeal for clemency by the President of Singapore last week and he urgently needs our support.

In March 2004 Van Tuong Nguyen, a former salesman, was sentenced to death for importing 396.2 grams of heroin into Singapore. He was convicted under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which carries a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of trafficking in more than 15 grams of heroin.

My overwhelming feeling is that he, and his family, are about to pay the highest possible price for a stupid error of judgement. Being a fellow Australian with a great capacity for errors of judgement I’ve felt very moved by his and his family’s plight.

If I, or a member of my family, were in a similar situation I’d hope that people I didn’t even know, might be sufficiently moved to voice their concerns for what was about to happen to me.

So I have and I hope on this occasion other people might too.

Amnesty International has launched a global campaign for Van Tuong. They have a draft letter and the contact details for a range of officials in Singapore that they are inviting people to write to which is available here.

If like me you live in the UK you could also send a letter to Singapore's representative here. His address is:

Mr Michael Teo, High Commissioner for Singapore, 9 Wilton Crescent Belgravia, London SW1X 8SP, email

I’ve always really liked the following quote from the Buddha “happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others". It made a lot of sense when I decided to write those appeal letters today. I suspect that there’s no greater ‘benefit’ than saving someone’s life and I can’t imagine the relief and happiness that will come if the Singaporean authorities do grant Van Tuong clemency. A good use of words indeed…