British Man Condemned to Death in China

October 21, 2009 at 10:26 am

While CNN and like networks were talking about a balloon in the sky and a kid in the attic, polling the audience to see what they thought about it and discussing newscasters’ sweaters, real news was happening and it’s a shame we haven’t heard more (anything) about Akmal Shaikh. This British man may well be executed in China despite his apparent mental illness — for four kilograms of heroin he seems to have been tricked into transporting for someone.

I’m not a big proponent of the insanity defense but clearly one can take advantage of another’s delusions and the more you look at this, the more it seems to be the case. Even more to the point, I’m no proponent of drug charge death penalties and governments doing whatever the hell they want. China has an exemption clause for those deemed mentally ill but refused Shaikh access to psychological assessment. They also failed to inform the Foreign Office of Shaikh’s sentence for eleven moths.

Why has our media turned a blind eye to this as so many other cases of injustice? Is it because he’s mentally ill, because a death in China is too far away to matter, or is it because kids not being in balloons makes such captivating news?

Guardian UK: Mentally Ill Briton Faces ‘execution in days’ in China

BBC News: Death Row Briton’s Family in Plea

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Entry filed under: Bipolar, Human Rights, Media, People. Tags: , , .

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