The imminent execution in America of the 1,000th person to be killed since capital punishment was resumed in 1977 is being followed worldwide, and in a candlelit vigil outside the prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Kenneth Lee Boyd has had his plea for clemency turned down by the state’s Democrat Governor, and will die by lethal injection. Amnesty International’s Curt Goering deplored the execution, coming hours after World Anti-Death Penalty day.
“The fact that the richest and most powerful nation on Earth continues to execute, to kill in order to try to solve its social problems is not reflective of a human-rights respecting society, or even a civilised society”, he said.The latest execution in Singapore has also led to protests there and in Australia, the home country of Nguyen Tuong Van, who was hanged for trying to smuggle nearly half a kilo of heroin.
Tuong Van, 25, had no previous convictions and claimed he was trying to raise money to pay off his twin brother’s debts. The case has divided Australia. Some refuse to condone his actions or find excuses for it, while others claim Prime Minister John Howard would have exerted more pressure for clemency had Tuong Van not been of Vietnamese extraction.
Howard says the execution should warn Australia’s young to have nothing to do with drugs, or the fate that awaits them in Asia if they are found with them in their possesion.