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China the Execution of Akmal Shaikh by the Chinese Authorities
Failed pleas for clemency
- Akmal Shaikh was executed today, 29th December 2009, in China. He was a 53 year old father of three, from London.
- Mr Shaikh had been caught carrying 4kg of heroin in China in 2007.
- He is the first national of the European Union to be executed in China for 50 years
- He was only told by his family, that he was to be executed, on 28th December 2009.
- He was to have his hands and feet bound and be shot in the back of the neck.
- However ,it is believed that he was given a lethal injection.
- His body will not be returned to the UK
- Mr Shaikh was a Muslim and will be buried within 24 hours of his death, in China.
The execution of Mr Shaikh provokes such a mixture of emotions for me.
On face value smuggling 4kg of Heroin is a heinous crime. Such an amount of drugs has the power to inflict so much suffering to so many people.
However, in the UK such a crime might warrant a hefty jail term, hopefully, but not death. Still when in Rome. Committing crimes in foreign lands is a dangerous occupation. China in particular has such a terrible human rights record that, even minor offences will attract severe punishment.
There are however some strange aspects to this case.
The family of Mr Shaikh claim that he was bipolar. It is also claimed that Mr Shaikh was duped into carrying the case which held the heroine. Mr Shaikh held wild dreams of becoming a pop star and it is believed that Polish smugglers played on his delusions. He became convinced that smuggling these drugs would make him a pop star in China.
All of this may sound silly to you but it would be easily possible for someone who is bipolar to believe all of this.The Chinese authorities refute the fact that Mr Shaikh had any mental illness. In fact they have stated that no evidence of mental illness was provided at the trial.
Pleas for clemency, from the UK Prime Minister and others, went unheeded. As for being tried in China, the Chinese have made it plain that this is no different to the treatment of Chinese offenders in the UK. However the UK judicial system is more lenient and in my opinion much fairer.
The facts about China's record on executions is shocking
- It is believed that China carries out more executions each year than the rest of the world combined.
- The yearly figure is decreasing
- Secrecy shrouds the true figures.
- Amnesty International has no presence in China.
- China issues the death sentence for crimes such as tax evasion,
- Tens of thousands of people have been executed in China.
- Some executions in China take place in specially converted vans.
- The van with the prisoner is taken to the area where the crime was committed, to deter others.
- Chinese officials claim that this proves they execute people humanely, as death in these vans comes by way of a lethal injection.
- However, it is believed that the main change from execution by a bullet, to a lethal injection, is cost.
- The doctors who administer the lethal injection, after death remove various body parts for transplant. They cannot use the heart due to the poison from the injection.
- Most of these organs go to wealthy patients.
- Details of these vans and their purpose are so reminiscent of the Nazis. Yes, I know that their victims were innocent but I guess many of these people were also.
Let's face China has come a long way, I guess, in the last hundred years:-
"China has traditionally always taken a ruthless, unemotional view of crime and punishment. Before injections and bullets, the most chilling sentence was death by Ling Chi - which was death by a thousand cuts. This practice was abolished only in 1905.
The condemned man was strapped to a table and then, in what was also known as 'slow slicing', his eyes were gouged out.
This was designed to heighten the terror of not being able to see what part of his body would suffer next. Using a sharp knife, the executioner sliced at the condemned's body - chopping off the ears, fingers, nose and toes, before starting to cut off whole limbs.
Traditionalists insisted that exactly 3,600 slices were made"
I will make no comment as none is necessary, I know.
I abhor drug smuggling and its smugglers. However, I abhor injustice also. As adult readers you will all have your own opinions on this case and the death penalty. Of course the "Mr Big" behind Akmal's crime will be safe and well somewhere in the World.
I do not write this hub in an attempt to change your views. This hub is created to make readers aware of some of what goes on in China and to mark the passing of Mr Shaikh.
RIP Akmal Shaikh