Tuesday, December 29, 2009

British man said to be mentally ill executed in China.

I can't be the only person who is appalled by this:

A British man convicted of drug smuggling in China has been executed, the Foreign Office has confirmed. Akmal Shaikh, 53, a father-of-three, of London, had denied any wrongdoing and his family said he was mentally ill. The execution took place despite repeated calls from his family and the British government for clemency.
This has been done despite the fact that Shaikh went to China under the impression that he was about to be made into a Chinese pop star and that the Chinese had been told repeatedly that he was bipolar and had been tricked into carrying the drug package by the very people who had promised him his highly unlikely career in music.

The Chinese have remained utterly unmoved by any appeals for clemency, and have gone ahead with the first execution of an EU citizen in China for over fifty years.
In a statement issued after the execution, the Chinese Embassy said Mr Shaikh's rights "were properly respected and guaranteed" and British concerns were "duly noted and taken into consideration". It said: "As for his possible mental illness which has been much talked about, there apparently has been no previous medical record."
The execution has produced uncharacteristically sharp language from British MP's:

In a statement, Mr Brown said: "I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted.

"I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken.

"At this time our thoughts are with Mr Shaikh's family and friends and I send them our sincere condolences."

Foreign Secretary David Miliband also condemned the execution.

He said the UK was opposed to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, but also "deeply regretted" that his specific concerns in this case, including "mental health issues, and inadequate professional interpretation" had been ignored.

Conservative leader David Cameron echoed the condemnation, saying he "deplored and deeply regretted" the execution.

China's reputation has recently taken a battering over Copenhagen, but it's relations with Britain are now at an all time low with each political party lining up to condemn this disgraceful decision.

It's hard to work out just what the Chinese feel they have accomplished by this action. It strikes me as a situation in which they could have easily given clemency and gone some way to repair their image after Copenhagen, but it is not the path they have chosen.

Instead, they have chosen to execute a bipolar man for a crime which few of us believe he even understood he had committed.

Quite appalling.

Click here for full article.


nunya said...

Uh, Britain knew better than to pipe up on this one, eh?

Do you think the Chinese have forgotten the Opium Wars ?

Kel said...

Well, we piped up, but the Chinese simply refused to listen...