On this coming Friday morning, just before 6 a.m. Singapore time, when Nguyen waked down the final road to the gallows he will be meeting a new hangman. The 73-year old Darshan Singh won't be there to attend to his last moments in this world. Will the new hangman say the Hangman’s last kind words of "I am going to send you to a better place than this. God bless you"?
Singapore has sacked Darshan Singh, its only hangman after his identity and picture were revealed by The Australian newspaper. The Singapore government has not been pleased with that indiscretion. Darshan Singh said that he gets a bonus of Sing $400 dollars per hanging, but he admits he is happy not to be the one to put the noose around young Nguyen’s neck.
It's believed that Singapore will be importing a 'borrowed' or 'seconded' hangman from another country, probably from neighbouring Malaysia, which also practises legal execution by hanging. Ain't it sweet, the cooperation between two Commonwealth mates who still retain their erstwhile colonial master's nasty punishment while their colonial master and other Commonwealth partners have abandoned that draconian practice.
Nguyen's lawyer Lex Lasry has expressed great concerns about an inexperienced hangman messing around with his client as hanging is a precise science which is meant to execute swiftly and not cause unnecessary sufferings, as had happened with Nazi criminals after the Nuremberg trials.
Lasry said, "If this must happen it must be done as humanely as possible. It just shows the high level of inhumanity of it."
I don’t agree than hanging a young 25-year old man, or for that matter any person, no matter how artful the hangman could possibly be in minimising sufferings, can ever 'be done as humanely as possible'. It is an unacceptable form of state institutionalised murder.
Meanwhile, Singapore human rights lawyer M. Ravi has led the local campaign to save the Australian because it was the final wish of his previous death row client, Shanmugam Murugesu, who was hung in May. While alive, he became Nguyen's best friend and confidant in jail. Ravi said that before Shanmugam was executed, the condemned man asked him to try and save Nguyen.
Shanmugam’s family has held a vigil to pray for Nguyen. They have also spoken out against the capital punishment for Nguyen, but they are a small number of Singaporeans concerned at all by the inhumane legal punishment.
His teenage son said "We are not just fighting for my father. We are fighting for everyone. No one should have to go through this pain, it is not the pain of missing a girlfriend or a friend, but the pain of seeing your father's body is very difficult to handle. I do not want his mother to have to feel this pain."
(1) The Singapore Hangman
(2) Shanmugam Murugesu – Nobility on Eve of Execution