British national executed in China

December 29th, 2009

 Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year old British national, has been executed at 10:30 China standard time (02:30 GMT) today. He was arrested for carrying drugs in September 2007. Shaikh is said to suffer from bipolar disorder and pleas for clemency were made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and actor Stephen Fry.

Shaikh’s family claims that he suffered from mental illness and was tricked by Polish smugglers into carrying drugs in a suitcase which did not belong to him, with a promise to make him a pop star in China. The Chinese buried his body in China and it will not be returned to his family in the UK.

Chinese state media say western news outlets are “politicizing” Mr. Shaikh punishment and that the Chinese officials have ruled that there is insufficient evidence of Mr. Shaikh alleged mental illness.

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