Supporters Hold London Vigil for British Death Row Inmate in China (Updated)
Posted on Dec 28, 2009
With less than a day to go before his scheduled execution in China, British supporters of Londoner Akmal Shaikh held an eleventh-hour vigil in London on Monday in an attempt to persuade the Chinese government to spare his life, arguing that Shaikh, 53, suffers from mental illness. —KA
Update: Shaikh was executed, despite protests. The British government condemned the execution and Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was “appalled and disappointed.” [Link]
A candlelit vigil was being held outside the Chinese embassy in central London calling for a last-minute reprieve for 53-year-old Akmal Shaikh from Kentish Town, north London, on the grounds that he is seriously mentally ill.
Mr Shaikh, who was convicted of smuggling 4kg of heroin after being arrested in Urumqi, north west China in September 2007, is due to be executed at 10.30am tomorrow - 2.30am GMT - after losing a final appeal last week.
But campaigners and witnesses who have contacted the human rights group Reprieve have said he is mentally ill and had been suffering from delusions.
The contested execution of Akmal Shaikh is set for Tuesday in China.