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December 29th, 2009
11:32 AM ET

Condemnation as China executes Briton for drug smuggling

Supporters of British national Akmal Shaikh hold a vigil at the Chinese Embassy in London.

Supporters of British national Akmal Shaikh hold a vigil at the Chinese Embassy in London.

CNN

The British government condemned China's execution of a British national Tuesday on drug smuggling charges.

"I ... am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted," Prime Minister Gordon Brown said. "I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken."

Akmal Shaikh was convicted of carrying up to 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of heroin at the Urumqi Airport in September 2007. According to Chinese law, 50 grams (1.76 ounces) is the threshold for the death penalty.

China defended the execution in a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in London.
Video: China executes British citizen

"Drug trafficking is a grave crime worldwide," the statement said. "The concerns of the British side have been duly noted and taken into consideration by the Chinese judicial authorities in the legal process, and Mr. Shaikh's rights and interests under Chinese law are properly respected and guaranteed."

The 53-year-old is the first European executed in China in 50 years, according to the British legal group Reprieve.

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Filed under: China • Crime
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Joan

    Being hooked up with drugs doesnt have any good outcome. By eliminating these smugglers we can save a lot of lives. And this is already a warning for smugglers to think twice before doing it.

    December 30, 2009 at 5:24 am |
  2. China's reputation Cemmented

    Yet another ghastly reminder that funding friends from the east continue to apply the same horrific treatment to foreigners as well as their own (persecution of Falun Gong, organ harvesting in executed prisoners, tens of thousands of dogs killed in 2009, etc.). Yet we continue to buy their cheap junk and they continue to buy our debt so we can continue buying their cheap junk.

    The man was clearly mentally ill. His exhibited very bizarre behavior leading up to the heroin smuggling . Google him before judging!

    ST: Great comment!

    December 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  3. alicenyc

    Hey if he truly smuggled drugs he got what he deserves, look at all the drugs that are smuggled into this country. maybe we should do the same to the smugglers. I guess if someone else was thinkong of doing that themselves, they may want to RETHINK IT.

    December 29, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  4. ST

    It's make sense when someone is punished for a crime. But it does not make any sense when there is a crime for justfying a crime...

    December 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  5. andrew sewell

    The law is law that's all I have to say !!!!!!!

    December 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  6. Kelly

    If they are not executed and just imprisoned for years then China has to pick up the bill for housing another drug dealer. I am not sure if execution is the answer but prison sure is not working.
    As for boycotting China products, you have let the drug dealer become more important then the hard working citizens.

    December 29, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  7. Susan, FL + IL

    I guess China will not have a drug problem.....huh

    We have to remember the days of the Opium Dens.......was it the British who got the Chinese hooked on Opium. I think that is what I had read or heard somewhere.

    December 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  8. Brian

    I guess he'll think twice next time before smuggling heroin in china...oh wait I guess he won't. Good riddance british druggie.. One less scumbag in the world. Go China!

    December 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  9. Tim Gibson

    Execution is in my opinion harsh and out of line yet this person should remain in prison for many, many years to come, not be executed.

    December 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  10. Chiana (Canada)

    Totally disagree with previous poster. Horrifying. China continues to live down to its reputation as a barbaric, totalitarian regime. It just reinforces me in my convinction to avoid all Chinese products and services. I sincerely hope that China doesn't become the dominant economic force as predicted. A collapsing economy might lead to a change in power. Or so I hope.

    December 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  11. Jeanette

    If the USA were harder on the large sellers in our country, we wouldn't have the drug problems we have. Instead they are more intent on putting the little guy in jail for smoking pot or using and not selling. Its easier for them to catch.

    December 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  12. Tami

    That is quite a large amount of heroin, but the point is that China is a few hundred years behind on human rights in general. Execution for heroin is a tad barbaric in my opinion.

    December 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  13. Beverly

    Maybe the United States ought to start executing those that transport large amounts of drugs, that would stop some of it. Better yet make it a federal mandate!!

    December 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  14. mike

    He should be executed. It was a gross amount and he new the consequences of his actions. If he was properly profiled, I wonder where the money was going? Follow the money! We wouldn't have near as much crime in this world, if examples like this were carried out. You do the crime, you pay the consequences.

    December 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm |