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Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

China execution: International reaction

China's execution of a British man convicted of drugs smuggling has triggered international reaction from governments and rights organisations. Akmal Shaikh had denied any wrongdoing and was, according to his family, suffering from a mental illness.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER

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. I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken.

EUROPEAN UNION, STATEMENT

The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the execution of Akmal Shaikh.

It deeply regrets the fact that China has not heeded the repeated calls by the European Union and one of its member states for the death sentence passed against Mr Shaikh to be commuted.

DAVID MILIBAND, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY

I... deeply regret the fact that our specific concerns about the individual in this case were not taken into consideration... These included mental health issues, and inadequate professional interpretation during the trial.

CHINESE EMBASSY IN LONDON, STATEMENT

Akmal Shaikh was convicted for serious drug trafficking. The amount of heroin he brought into China was 4,030g, enough to cause 26,800 deaths, threatening numerous families. According to the Chinese law, 50g of heroin is the threshold for death penalty.

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.

As for his possible mental illness which has been much talked about, there apparently has been no previous medical record.

The legal structures of China and UK may be different, but it should not stand in the way of enhancing our bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect.

JIANG YU, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN

Nobody has the right to speak ill of China's judicial sovereignty.

We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition over the groundless British accusations.

PHILIP ALSTON, UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR

We are informed that the initial conviction was based on a 30-minute hearing which would not seem to indicate due process or effective defence or presentation of evidence.

We are then told that in the appeal requests to present medical evidence, requests to the court that it should appoint an expert to assess Mr Shaikh were all rejected.

So, it's not very encouraging in fact that the Chinese courts were so dismissive of what appears to be at least a strong initial case.

SALLY ROWEN, LEGAL DIRECTOR OF CAMPAIGN GROUP REPRIEVE

The death of Akmal Shaikh is a sad indictment of today's world, and particularly of China's legal system. We at Reprieve are sickened by what we have seen during our work on this case.



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