China’s execution of a British man said to have mental health problems has sparked widespread condemnation.
Appeals for clemency for Akmal Shaikh fell on deaf ears and the convicted drug smuggler was killed by lethal injection in western China earlier today.
The Chinese ambassador to the UK was summoned to the Foreign Office to hear British protests.
“We provided China with lots of evidence of very bizarre behaviour of Mr. Shaikh over a long period of time,” said British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis. “The thing that horrified us the most is that Chinese courts refused to even undertake a medical assessment prior to proceeding with this execution.”
The European Union condemned China for its first execution of an EU national in 50 years. But Beijing defended its handling of the case, maintaining national law had been strictly observed.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: “The independence of the Chinese judiciary can’t be interfered with. No one has the right to interfere with the judicial sovereignty of China.”
But its refusal to take on board claims that a delusional Akmal Shaikh had been duped into carrying 4 kg of heroin into China has prompted an outcry. British leader Gordon Brown said he was “appalled.”