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note to self->

never traffic drugs in asia.

there has been extensive press coverage in australia of singapore's decision to execute an australian citizen for drug trafficking- a few articles have popped up here in the US yesterday and today as well. after a few years of legal wrangling and despite appeals from this poor guy's family, the australian people, and various levels of the government today singapore went ahead with its intentions and hung nguyen tuong van.

i don't buy into any level of the death penalty. it's completely inhumane and serves absolutely no constructive social or moral purpose.

that said, when you leave home and head overseas you've got to have some awareness of where you are, what's ok and what could get you into some serious trouble. but i'm sure this twenty five year old kid had no idea his life was going to be ended over his trafficking of 400grams of heroin out of cambodia. it made me sad to read about his mom and his friends that were allowed to see him earlier today.

and then i read this article on cnn.com:

while talking about nguyen tuong van's case, it also takes an asia-wide sample of death penalty practices and quite bluntly makes it sound like all of asia is nothing but a massive death row. when comparing statistics and practices the US is largely ignored (except for one positive reference to how commendable it is that the united states keeps such lovely public records on how many people are executed).

the article points out that 'more than 420 prisoners have been hanged in singapore since 1991, most of them for drug trafficking...'

after some searching around i came across official statistics for the US:
- from 1991-2003 (i couldn't find official counts for last year and this year to date) 766 americans have been executed.
- as of july this year there are 3,415 prisoners on death row.
- and three states still allow death by firing squad.

this article didn't mention any of that- i think before anyone offers a critical commentary on what's going on overseas we should all be reminded of what happens at home.

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