British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he is appalled by China’s execution of a UK citizen convicted of drug smuggling.
The Chinese Supreme Court rejected appeals – from the UK Government and 53-year-old Akmal Shaikh’s family – for clemency on the grounds that he was suffering from bipolar disorder.
During his trial the defence argued he was duped into carrying a suitcase packed with four kilos of heroin by a Polish gang who played on his dream of becoming a popstar with a song he had written called “Little Rabbit”.
But the Chinese judiciary deemed there was insufficient evidence of mental illness, a stance condemned by human rights groups.
Roseann Rife, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific programme said: “What’s truly appalling is that the Chinese authorities did not apply Chinese domestic law which could have mitigated the verdict in this case, given the mental illness of the defendant.”
International condemnation of the execution has prompted China to defend its judicial integrity and denounce interference.
On the streets of Beijing, there was little sympathy for the man believed to have been executed by lethal injection.
Twenty-year-old Zhang Lin said: “I think they are meddling with China’s judicial independence. Every country has its own laws, that need to be respected. He broke the law in China, then he ought to be punished.”
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office. Gordon Brown condemned the execution in the strongest possible terms and said he was appalled and disappointed that persistent requests for clemency had not been granted.
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