China set to execute British man for drug smuggling: Officials

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 09:06

London: Britain will intensify pressure
on China to show clemency for a British man set to he executed
this month for drug smuggling, voicing alarm over his case,
officials said.

Akmal Shaikh, whose family and supporters say he
probably has bipolar disorder, is due to be executed next week
after losing yesterday his final appeal in China`s Supreme
Court, his lawyers, the charity Reprieve, said.
Shaikh was arrested in 2007 at Urumqi in China`s
western Xinjiang region with four kilogrammes of heroin.

Campaigners say he was duped into carrying it.

The planned execution comes despite Prime Minister
Gordon Brown asking Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in a telephone
call earlier this month to consider the mental health of
Shaikh in reviewing the case.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office yesterday said: "We
can confirm that Chinese authorities have informed us that
Akmal Shaikh is due to be executed on 29 December. We are
alarmed and deeply concerned at this news."
The Foreign Office said Chinese officials had not
taken Shaikh`s mental health into account despite repeated
requests by Brown and the European Union.

"We will be using the next few days to renew and
intensify our appeal to the Chinese authorities for clemency.
The prime minister and other ministers have been, and remain,
closely engaged," the spokesman said.


First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 09:06

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