Opposition to capital punishment
as his brother
The execution murder in Singapore of Australian drug trafficker Van Nguyen has been confirmed.
In a break from convention, Singapore's Government has issued a statement formally confirming the 25-year-old was hanged this morning.
"The sentence was carried out this morning at Changi Prison," the Ministry of Home Affairs statement said.
The 25-year-old from Melbourne was sentenced to death after being convicted of trying to smuggle nearly 400 grams of heroin through Changi Airport.
As daybreak approached, Nguyen's brother, Khoa, arrived at Changi Prison with a number of his friends.
He left after spending more than an hour in the visitors' centre during the time the execution was scheduled.
Lawyer Julian McMahon told reporters they wanted to be at the wall of the jail at the scheduled time for the execution.
Mr McMahon says Nguyen's mother was with friends and relatives at a nearby church at the scheduled time of the hanging.
He said the Australian High Commission had agreed to formally identify Nguyen's body after the hanging.
Mr McMahon says funeral arrangements have been made and it is expected the family will fly out to Australia tomorrow.
Mr McMahon spoke to reporters about the last moments between Nguyen and his mother.
"Well I actually wasn't in the room when that happened but there was a grill and they were able to hold each other's hands and Kim was able to, at least for some time, I'm not sure how long, was able to touch Van on the face," he said.
Masses have been held in cities around the country to mark the execution.
In Melbourne, the bell tolled 25 times at St Ignatius Catholic Church in Richmond - once for each year of Nguyen's life.
Members of Victoria's Criminal Bar Association gathered outside the County Court in Melbourne to observe a minute's silence for Nguyen.
Stephen Shirrefs, the vice-chairman of the association, says they support the fight against the mandatory death penalty.
"We are here to demonstrate our opposition to capital punishment, as a mark of respect to the family of Van Nguyen and as a mark of solidarity for two of our members who in the fine tradition of the Victorian Bar have acted pro bono and for the last three years fought to save the life of Van Nguyen," he said.
At Martin Place in Sydney, a Vietnamese gong also sounded 25 times.
A crowd gathered and maintained a silent vigil.
Churchgoers in Brisbane have also prayed for Nguyen and expressed hopes the events of today are not taken for granted.
Fr Peter Dillon led the congregation at St Stephen's Cathedral in a prayer calling for an end to executions.
Fr Dillon says he fears today's execution will have little impact on the drug trade.
"I sadly think, unfortunately, and this is the insidiousness of the drug culture, I think it's just another dead body for the drug world. And there's thousands of them everyday, so I don't think they're going to be moved by all this," he said.
Candles lit for Nguyen Tuong Van
They say they hope his death will not be in vain.