As Nguyen Tuong Van walked the 45-seconds trip from his cell to the nearby gallows, he made his last joke to the guards whom he had come to know very well over the last 3 years. His fellow death row inmates, also waiting for their turns at the gallow, gave him a farewell hymn as time moved inexorably towards his final destiny in this world. T'was the Brotherhood of Death - Victims' Section.
Amnesty's anti-death penalty co-ordinator Tim Goodwin says:
"There is an increasing view internationally that the death penalty is a violation of fundamental human rights. We're talking here of a right to life itself and also a right not to be punished in a cruel and inhuman manner. They recognise often that it has a very brutalising effect across society as well."
Goodwin added that countries also abolish the death penalty as they become more democratic, wanting to protect their citizens from state excesses.
Professor Hood, a world expert and author of books on the death penalty, says the existence of capital punishment in 38 states in America is the greatest obstacle to persuading other nations that the death penalty is an abuse of human rights.
The Professor said: "Wherever I have been - in China, the Philippines, the Caribbean - proponents of capital punishment have pointed to the United States to emphasise that capital punishment is not inconsistent with democratic values and political freedom."
In the above respect, PM John Howard has been very careful not to offend (1) the USA, (2) China and (3) some of his supporters who are very right wing conservatives. That has been partly why he was not very assertive in his appeal for clemency for Nguyen.
Singapore has, by size of its population and number of executions, the highest execution rate in the world, exceeding even those of China or the USA. T'is the Brotherhood of Death - Perpetrators' Section.