Friday, 6 November 2009

British Man Faces Death Penalty in China. (Please Help)

Here is one time I ask you for help. There is a British man in china who is facing the death penalty. Usually the reason he has been detained by the authorities in China I would not have an issue with as he has been detained for smuggling heroin into the country which is not good to put it mildly but in the case of Mr Akmal Shaikh there are extenuating circumstances as you will see.

What I am asking you to do is either repost this post on your blog, forum or what ever. Just so we make enough noise to show the authorities in China that we can not and will not let this go unnoticed.

A mentally ill British man could be executed in China within days, after the country's foreign ministry said today his appeal against the death penalty for drug smuggling had been rejected.

Lawyers for Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old father of five from Kentish Town, north London, fear he may be shot imminently and without warning, despite the personal intervention of Gordon Brown in making representations for clemency to the Chinese authorities. His lawyers say he suffers from delusional psychosis and bipolar disorder and that he was set up by drug smugglers at the time of his arrest in 2007, while carrying heroin in a suitcase.Shaikh's case will go through one last legal stage, a hearing before the People's supreme court, before the sentence can be carried out. The court's hearings are swift and often largely procedural, according to Reprieve, the anti-death penalty legal charity representing Shaikh.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's director, described the situation as "a very dire moment". "Mr Shaikh's British passport promises him 'such protection and assistance as may be necessary'. It is crucial that the British government formally intervene in the Chinese supreme court to get him a fair hearing."

The Foreign Office said the government was "greatly concerned to hear that the death sentence has been maintained", adding it had "already made representations to the Chinese authorities at the highest levels; representations continue in both China and London. The prime minister has taken a personal interest in the case and has raised it several times with the Chinese leadership."

The actor Stephen Fry, who suffers from bipolar disorder, recorded a statement of support yesterday, calling Shaikh's sentence "manifestly unfair". (Read More Here)

Mr Fry has appealed to the Chinese government to reconsider the case of a London man facing execution for drug smuggling.

Mr Fry described Mr Shaikh as "very delusional" and asked China for clemency in this "real case for mercy".

Mr Shaikh's case is pending an appeal at China's Supreme People's Court. He faces immediate execution if he is unsuccessful.

He travelled to China with the promise of being made into a pop star, despite having no singing experience, they said. Mr Fry said: "Akmal is a very delusional figure. He has a history of quite extraordinary and perplexing behaviour, mixing grandiosity and mental delusion in a very characteristic way for those who are severely affected by bipolar disorder. "It's an affliction I suffer from myself to some extent - not, I'm happy to say, as severely as Akmal - but all through my life I've been to some extent dogged by mood swings."

Mr Fry said this was "a real case where China can demonstrate that it does understand that mental illness can provoke people into doing things that are otherwise intolerable".

A Foreign Office spokesman said the prime minister had raised the case with China's leadership "several times".

Consular officials last visited Mr Shaikh on 8 September. They are working with Reprieve to ensure he has appropriate legal representation. (Source)

Note: Just so you have an understanding of what Bipolar is I have taken this from the NHS website.

"Bipolar disorder - previously known as manic depression - is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. If you have bipolar disorder you will have periods, or ‘episodes’, of depression and mania.

Depression and mania The depression and mania that are associated with bipolar disorder are characterised as follows: depression - where you feel very low, and mania - where you feel very high; slightly less severe mania is known as hypomania. Both extremes of bipolar disorder have a number of other associated symptoms. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks or longer. The high and low phases of the illness are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.

The depression phase of bipolar disorder often comes first. Initially, you may be diagnosed with clinical depression before having a manic episode some time later (sometimes years later), after which your diagnosis might change. During an episode of depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness which often lead to thoughts of suicide.

During a manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may feel very happy and have lots of ambitious plans and ideas. You may spend large amounts of money on things that you cannot afford. Not feeling like eating or sleeping, talking quickly, and becoming annoyed easily are also common characteristics of bipolar disorder.

During the manic phase, you may feel very creative and view mania as a positive experience. However, during the manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may also have symptoms of psychosis (where you see or hear things that are not there)".

This is what Mr Shaikh lives with on a day to day basis. Now imagine just for one second how it feels to have this condition. Now imagine what Mr Shaikh is going through at the moment, knowing he could be put to death without warning.

What is happening "now" is in Direct violation of The Universal Declaration of Human rights Under..

Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law. Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. Article 11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed. (Source)

A wise man once said "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice Everywhere". This is a great injustice.

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