Singapore: Australians should accept drug trafficker's death sentence says newspapers

Australians should not expect to escape the death penalty if they are foolish enough to traffic drugs into Singapore, a newspaper warned in an editorial Friday, a week before the scheduled hanging of an Australian heroin smuggler in the city-state.

"The reality is that more Australians can expect to face the ultimate penalty here because too many choose to dice with death," The Straits Times newspaper said, adding Australian Prime Minister John Howard had himself "expressed despair at the stupidity" of young Australians charged with drug offenses in Southeast Asia.

Singapore has rejected calls by lawmakers across Australia to reverse its decision to execute Melbourne man Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, who is scheduled to be hanged Dec. 2 after being convicted of trafficking almost 400 grams (14.11 ounces) of heroin in 2002.

"The drugs trade is a destroyer of lives and of society, vividly so in this region," the pro-government newspaper said. "Australians who have an imperfect understanding of this can only learn to educate themselves."

The paper said it shared the anguish of Nguyen's family, but added "Australians should take an objective look at the crime, not only the punishment", AP reports.

"As much as Singaporeans make no judgment on a value of jurisprudence which has served the Australian commonwealth well, Australians show their breeding by learning to accept what the Singapore situation requires," the paper said. P.T.

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