China set to execute British man for drug smuggling: Officials
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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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