China Angered By British Reaction To Execution
December 29, 2009
Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old British-born traveler, was arrested with 4kg of heroine on his person.
He claimed not to know where it had come from, but was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to death.
Despite the urges of clemency from family and governments internationally, including several pleas made by British authorities and officials, Shaikh was executed early this morning.
The decision was made all the more controversial after claims from the family that Shaikh was mentally ill, having been previously diagnosed as Bipolar. China denies this.
“I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted,” Gordon Brown said this morning in an official statement.
This statement has caused tension and threats of strain between China and Britain.
China released the following reply:
“We express our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the British Government’s unreasonable criticism of the case. We urge the British to correct their mistake in order to avoid harming China-UK relations.
“During the legal process, Mr Shaikh’s rights and interests were properly respected and guaranteed and the concerns of the British side were duly noted and taken into consideration by the Chinese judicial authorities.
“Out of humanitarian consideration, visas were granted to the two cousins of Mr Shaikh on Boxing Day, and they were given access to meeting Mr Shaikh in China.”