Nguyen hanged in Singapore
Khao Nguyen waits outside Changi prison as his brother is executed. (Reuters) Nguyen hanged in Singapore The end in Singapore of Australian drug trafficker Van Nguyen has been confirmed. In a break from...
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Bells toll for Nguyen Email Print Normal font Large font Nguyen Tuong Van's twin, Khoa, arrives at Singapore's Changi Prison ahead of his brother's hanging this morning. Photo: AP Related coverage Singaporean PM rules out pardon Eloquent QC struggles to find words Sympathy dries up as many back rest for drugs A slight dent in Singapore's armour MULTIMEDIA Nguyen Tuong Van VOTE rest penalty AUDIO Deadline pbuttes Advertisement AdvertisementBy Steve Butcher and Jesse Hogan December 2, 2005 - 9:34AM Page 2 of 2 Supporters of Nguyen Tuong Van wept openly at a memorial service in Richmond this morning when church bells rang out to signify his end in Singapore.
Nguyen, 25, was due to be hanged at Changi Prison at 6am (9am AEST) despite last-ditch bids for clemency to halt his end. More than 500 supporters gathered at St Ignatius Church, adjacent to the primary school Nguyen and his brother, Khoa, attended. Some had been there since 6am.
In Singapore, Nguyen's twin brother, Khoa, stood outside Changi Prison as the deadline pbutted.
He was accompanied by his brother's former schoolmates Kelly Ng and Bronwyn Lew, and lawyer Julian McMahon.
No immediate announcement is expected of the end.
If Nguyen's end proceeded as planned, a hearse would be sent to Changi Prison to collect his body at about 11am local time (2pm AEDT).
Throughout the night, protesters arrived in pairs to drop off candles at the gates to the prison's visitors' entrance before driving off.
Six to eight candles are sitting in various glbutt jars and holders which have been placed right to the entrance.
Protests are rare in Singapore, where gatherings of more than a few activists at a time are prohibited. Interestingly, there has been no police prescence at the prison overnight, despite the activists' presence.
Over the past hour, six to eight cars have entered the prison, a modern, unbuttuming-looking complex.
Mourners spent the last 5 minutes before 9am at St Ignatius Church, Richmond in silence devoted to prayer.
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At 9am sharp, the church bells rang 25 times - signifying "25 years of a life taken too soon," Fr Norden said.
Many people inside and outside the church wept silently during the tolling of the bells.
Afterward, Fr Norden thanked the congregation and said a farewell prayer for Nguyen.
There are no vacant pews inside the church. All newcomers are standing at the back and sides of the church.
The memorial service began at 8.30am and finished about 8.50am.
Douglas Wood, the Australian hostage freed in Iraq earlier this year visited the church earlier this morning. Wood has previously called for Nguyen's life to be spared.
Father Peter Norden told the congregation: "We come as friends, people who know him and know his family ... all the parts in this tragedy."
Fr Norden spoke of Nguyen's birth in a refugee camp in Cambodia, and paid tribute to the life he made for himself in Australia.
"Our prayers are with him this morning as he faces his fate with great courage and great faith."
He also urged the congregation to strive to understand "the truth" about capital punishment.
"The Christian church will stand in opposition to the taking of human life because we believe in the dignity of all human life," he said.
"We know you cannot uphold the dignity of human life by taking the life of another."
Candlelight vigils are being held around Australia this morning to mark the end of convicted drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van.
The 25-year-old will walk to the gallows at Singapore's Changi prison at 9am.
Last night, as the sun sank on a scorching Melbourne day, about 1000 people carried flickering candles through the city down St Kilda Road to mark the last hours of Van Nguyen's life.
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In Canberra, the Australian Greens will host a silent vigil outside Singapore's High Commission in Canberra to express their sorrow at Nguyen's rest.
In Singapore, the newly-formed Singapore Anti-rest Penalty Committee said in a statement they "utterly deplore and condemn'' the hanging of Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, as an "inhumane and barbaric punishment disproportionate to his crime''.
Members of the group, including artists and professionals, gathered at a 24-hour sidewalk cafe near Changi Prison.
They lit a candle atop an outdoor table on which pictures of Nguyen and messages of sympathy were displayed.
Candles were also left at the gates of the prison, where foreign and local journalists were camping out next to a television transmission dish.