Sixty Minutes from now, the Chinese government will kill a mentally ill British citizen.
Wars have been started over less. Little has been heard from the British government and what they have done to persuade China to show restraint. All we have had is a junior Foreign Office Minister urging the Chinese to desist. I am sorry, but Ivan Lewis is not a name to strike fear into the hearts of the Chinese government.
Let's hope that even at this late stage, wise counsel prevails.
Sorry mate, you do the crime, you do the time. He had almost 9Lbs of heroin destined for Britain most likely. I'm not a fan of the death penalty but then I wouldn't travel to a country that had it and commit an offence that carried that punishment. He certainly won't do it again and he won't cost us a shed load of money in keeping him imprisoned and making sure his human rights aren't impinged. Plus as a Muslim, we'd have to give him all sorts of others privilledges as well.
Road Hog is spot on. He knew exactly what he was doing, and the cries of "mentally ill" are desperate pleas from the family and people objecting to the Chinese killing a Britain under any circumstances.
I often forget who is the foreign secretary now - he does not really strike fear into anybody
Road_Hog - you are very sad person. Have you no compassion for a man who is mentally ill?
I was wondering how someone would would twist this into a partisan point scoring exercise.
Because of course Geoffrey Howe scared them shitless over Hong Kong didn't he?
Dispiriting stuff. A man is going to be killed and Road_Hog and Bill said... seem to think it is as good idea.
The point is, he didn’t know what he was getting into, he was ‘talked into it’. His mental illness had a significant effect on his autonomy of will and how susceptible it was to foreign influences (the intent is shot right there) and therefore, going off what Beauchamp and Childress discuss in their textbooks, it would lead to an interference in his Autonomy of action, i.e. the act of committing the crime. Chinese authorities didn’t allow the clinical expert to take a look at him. The clinical expert after meeting with the British diplomats that did see Akmal concluded that he had significant problems that would interfere with his judgement.
What we see as a mental illness here isn’t what the Chinese judiciary see as mental illness back there. It isn’t as socially significant there as it is here. Mental illness is still seen more as a social construction in China rather than a legitimate clinical problem.
So yes, I do feel sorry for him, and I do think what’s going on is wrong. Especially where our lovely Government felt the need to send a junior foreign office minister.
perhaps if he gave the names of those who supplied him a deal could be done. otherwise as i see it he was complicit.
i worked with mentally handicapped teenagers when younger, enlightening actually, and i often found they knew exactly what they were doing, but used it as an excuse.
i taught mentally handicapped girls to swim for example, and conveniently they forgot how to swim each week so i would "hold them" in the water. when i quizzed them on this they all laughed and admitted they knew how to swim.
rather like henry's handball excuse of it being instinctual, i feel the answer is more simple and basic.
doing it and pleading ignorance works in the liberal west, but unless one is a gibbering idiot there is a causal link to the action, or in this case a crime.
So Tory Doc you were there when he was talked into it were you. As Road Hog put it, do the crime then take the punishment, if his family were so sure that he was not mentally competant why were they allowing him to travel unsupervised??
Being bi polar or what ever the latest buzz word is and never should be an excuse for any crime.
I travel a lot and I have never been asked let alone been convinced to carry drugs, you woud have to seek these things out, let alone into a country that clearly says smuggle drugs you get death.
I note nobody is getting worked up over the lives that have been saved by the drugs being intercepted.
Ted Foan asks "Have you no compassion for a man who is mentally ill?"
He'll be telling us to vote for Gordon next!
I'm devastated. That said, the case has brought to my attention the actions of Reprieve who I will be volunteering for.
I just don't get it. The guy was caught smuggling 9 pounds of heroin. What you guys are saying is that he did this because he was bi-polar, or mentally disturbed, or whatever - and so therefore he should be given clemency because he 'didn't know what he was doing'.
I'm sorry, but that's just lame.
That odious David Milliband has even said that "Mr Shaik has become an additional victim" of the drug trade.
He knew what he was getting into, and he knew the consequences.
The posters who appear to support this convicted drug smuggler seem to forget that the amount of heroin this guy was caught carrying was enough to kill thousands of people, innocent children hooked on an evil life ruining drug, innocent lives utterly ruined and destroyed by a killer drug, this one man carrying that amount of poison will end up killing more people than a suicide bomber!
The fact that the victims of the smuggler will die months or years apart makes no difference whatsoever, this criminal is a death dealer, a killer of children, a mass murderer. The drugs he was carrying meant death and despair for thousands of innocents.
Why is this criminals life worth more than his many victims? Why do people on this forum appear to forget the crime and the victims and concentrate on portraying the death dealing criminal as the victim?
Will those who appear to weep for the drug smuggler weep for the thousands of innocent lives each kilo of poison takes?
Will those who appear so eager to protect the life of one criminal take a similar interest in the heartbreaking misery and death that the poison called heroin creates each day?
The majority of ordinary law abiding people in the UK are sick and tired of those who would protect the rights of the criminal above those of the innocent victims. Give the voter a referendum on capital punishment and the crimes for which they should die and the UK would be doing the same as China.
On the political point - What are the examples of other governments succeeding in persuading the Chinese government to overturn the court's decision in respect of their citizens? Unless the task has a reasonable likelihood of success I don't see why the British government should expend significant resources on the issue. I suspect that they quite reasonably concluded that there was little chance of getting the sentence changed, so the right approach is don't spend too much energy on it, just be seen to be doing something for the benefit of the tabloids.
I am tired of the number of people who escape punishment because they (or others on their behalf) claim they can't be held responsible for their actions. Its time that everyone who isn't responsible for their actions had a legal guardian who was responsible for their reasonably foreseeable actions. If a child commits a serious crime, either they are responsible or they are too young/stupid to be held responsible and then their parents should be held responsible for allowing their too young/stupid offspring to wander the streets with a knife.
From the moment that Gormless Gordon demanded a reprieve the guy was doomed. The Curse, you see.
Seems double standards to me when the British government is prepared to try and intervene to save a mentally disturbed British Citizen from being executed by the Chinese and yet is quite "comfortable" to use an oft repeated phrase of Mr Johnson to allow an equally mentally impaired British citizen - Gary McKinnon- be extradited to the USA to face possibly up to 60 years in gaol
China's use of the death penalty along with it's other abuses of human rights has been quietly put to one side as other countries have scrambled for the huge market which is opening up.
Maybe a UK government could protest more vehemently but it will never actually put trade or the financing of the national debt at risk by taking a principled stand against the way China behaves.
Unfortunately in this case, it seems clear that there is evidence of mental illness to the point that in the UK he might be unfit to plead.
The Chinese are not interested n this because they know that the UK is weak and that our EU partners will not allow us to apply the correct pressure to obtain results.
All we had to do was stop all chinese registered vessels unloading at EU ports immediately, then all internationally registered vessels with Chinese cargoes.
Ivan Lewis can't even provide that outcome inside the UK's borders. This is how weak we now are.
I feel sorry for him but more sorry for the thousands of heroin addicts he sought to profit from supplying, and the thousands of victims stolen from to feed the cost of their addiction. So on the whole I think a good result for humanity, albeit a bad result for Mr Akmal Shaikh and his family who would have enjoyed his profit.
Check out BBC HYS and discover what sort of minority you find yourself in Ian.
Road Hog has it right - we should have a similar no nonsense approach to law and order - mental or not he broke the law and paid the price
No one disputes his guilt - just that the Chinese should apply a different set of laws to him than to other drug smugglers.
The single biggest thing wrong with this country is minority rule - the few always tell the many what to do. Good on you China - enforce your law and don't give any regard to the chest beaters and moaners.
Anyway, once Milliband decided that China was to blame from Copenhagen this guy was toast.
Whilst I am inclined to agree with Road Hog's forthright views, I do question why only at the last stages of this our government became so publicly involved?
After all he was convicted in 2007, yet we never heard a pip squeak out of this government when they were falling over themselves to attend the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
I shed no tears for drug dealers.
ly disagree with you BUT I disagree big time about this. We MUST respect China's laws. There is no evidence that this guy was mentally ill; in any case aplying our vales to thre Chinese legal system is illogical. Plus, I challemnge everyone having a go at China to think how they would feel if China insisted that we apply their values to some case here in the UK. I suppose you would all be appalled and affronted by their audacity and arrogance. It is a sad case. I listened to that junior minister on Radio 5 Live and he was apparently ready to ascribe mental illness to someone on the grouns of some bizarre behaviour. For God's sake get a grip such un professional third hand reporting of someone's behavikour is not the grounds for upsetting international relations.
according to the BBC Today prog he was an EU citizen
Should Baronness whatsherface not have been talking to the Chinese?
The UK has no hold over China. Like the US China now own us through our debt.
Labour caved into China a while ago when David Miliband agreed to recognise their authority in Tibet ( not widely reported at a high profile ).
Labour need China to fund the IMF so that they can make an earth shattering withdrawal after the general eelction and use the IMF as an excuse to break all their election promises on spending.
Labour have killed a lot more people than just this man. In our hospitals they kill by the thousands due to preventable hospital acquired infections. They kill our young men and women due to inadequate equipments in the Labour wars. They kills those hoping for life saving drugs by destroying the economy with debt so we will have to pay back the Chinese rather than save family and friends. They have killed due to their desire to rub Tories noses in diversity meaning our legal system can't deport killers.
Labour have managed to bury the bodies quietly - this unfortunate and perhaps foolish man is just one victim amongst thousands.
Barbaric and beyond belief...but some American States do the same thing. The "civilised" West, or that part of it across the pond, has a bloody great beam in its own eye that it should remove before we can have a credible case to make against the vile Chinese obession with judicial execution...
I am opposed to the death penalty, and support the legalisation of all drugs. I also uphold the absolute right of sovereign nations to administer their own judicial systems without neo-imperialist interference from bleeding heart do-gooders.
I think the key point for me here is China's inadequate judicial process. There has been much in the press (including The Times yesterday) about China's out of control death penalty situation, with numerous examples of people being killed with little chance for appeal, and then being found to be innocent a few years later. At least in the US they exhaust absolutely every avenue through courts, politics and medical examination. Yes, they too may get it wrong but at least they reveal how many people they kill for goodness sake.
I think to carry out no medical assessment of someone highlighted as mentally ill is just unacceptable. But then China has no issue with curtailing rights and freedoms. I just wonder how many of the 'string them up' crowd also attack Labour for our surveillance culture, ID cards and databases, and allowing councils to snoop into our lives.
Aside from whether he's guilty or not the British Government could have been more forceful asking for a mental evaluation of the prisoner. Instead we are stuck with laughable foreign policies from a man that makes Margaret Beckett appear a good Foreign Secretary (takes some doing).
As a white person, I'm allowed to play the "race card" here, for once.
Would he have stood a better chance of survival if he had been born in Britain and was white?
As Barnacle Bill says, he only seems to have made the headlines in recent days.
Well, Tory_Doc said > The point is, he didn’t know what he was getting into, he was ‘talked into it’. His mental illness had a significant effect on his autonomy of will and how susceptible it was to (foreign) influences .... and therefore .... it would lead to an interference in his Autonomy of action, i.e. the act of committing the crime.
If the psychologists are to be believed, it sounds chillingly similar to the profile of the majority of suicide bombers.
One way or another, by taking this course of punishment, the Chinese are taking the correct stance to prevent loss of life in the future.
As for us influencing the outcome of this, or any other, case involving China, dream on.
Baroness Ashton (who she?) is in charge of foreign relationships now anyway, not Banana Boy, and with a huge cash surplus, China is now top dog since the recession hit, so just get used to it.
Do you have any evidence that he was mentally ill? Any doctors notes or psych evals from the past 20 years when his family say he has been doolally? Nope. Zilch. Nada. None.
Hang on....you don't suppose this could be a handy get out of jail free card do ya???
I have seen no diagnosis of bi-polar disorder prior to this conviction, it mostly seems to have been diagnosed at a distance. How could a man genuinely suffering from this incapacitating condition have reached the age of 37 without a prior medical diagnosis that could now be produced, and how could he not have been watched if it were?
I understand that families will clutch at straws, but this man was carrying substantial quantities of heroin in a country whose penalties for such are known. When in Rome... I could wish they were as harsh here, we might then have fewer young people addicted and dying.
I'm afrais his story just doesn't stack up.
Would you trust this man to carry out an illegal act for you, and not louse it up or identify you to the authorities?
Road Hog is spot on; I'm a little doubtful of the "mentally ill" excuse proffered now, and have no objections whatsoever to the principle of executing drug traffickers in general. If he was genuinely so "mentally ill" that he was actually unable to tell right from wrong, which is the legal test to use it as a defence, why was he allowed to travel unaccompanied to the far side of the planet - and why did it take two years for this to be brought up?
I - like many Brits, a majority according to the polls I've seen recently - support capital punishment, don't find his excuses very credible and don't object to his execution at all: I only wish our own government could take a harder line on criminals! I am, however, relieved and pleased to see it seems to be Iain rather than me who is in the minority on the issue.
If we are saying that this man was not a victim, despite strong evidence that he was unfit to stand trial, and that his mental state was irrelevant, then why are we so concerned about the people who would have taken the drugs he imported? These "innocent children" and other drug users are also criminals, and we should also therefore execute them given that drug-taking is also against the law. Whilst we're at it, why don't we also introduce the death penalty here for parking on double yellow lines and speeding, as these heinous crimes also lead to the possibility of serious injury or death?
And Iain, I know you think you're well-connected but I think knowledge of high level diplomatic discussions is beyond even your pay grade.
The BBC report him as "an EU national"; perhaps the EU, being our/his government, should have done something....or not.
I'm surprised it took the Chinese so long to deal with an open and shut case.
As always, this Government is playing politics with people's lives - and deaths. Nothing new there. Brown is 'appalled', it seems. He's also said to be 'disappointed'. So what is Brown going to do - send a (the sole remaining) gunboat up the Yangtze? No doubt this'll happen after our gunboat has finished observing the Somali pirates in action.
Whether Shaikh knew or didn't know what he was doing is irrelevant. I suppose that this is just another manifestation of the ongoing 'Crazies in the Community' project which has led to the wholesale shutting down of asylums, the 'release' of patients who are a danger to themselves and others, and death on our streets. Next we'll be seeing legislation put forward by that clown Liam Donaldson to 'empower' doctors to ensure that their bi-polar patients do not travel to dangerous places.
'Abroad is unutterably bloody and foreigners are fiends'. Some people seem to believe that because the Chinese trade with us (mostly one-way) and speak our language, they are the same as us. Why? The same is true of the Yanks.
If you go to any other country - for whatever purpose - you place your life, limbs and liberty in others' hands. Simple as that. Shaikh and his British family should have understood and remembered that.
Maybe Mr Postman Johnson will now get off his fat arse and review the truly gross McKinnon decision. I won't be holding my breath.
Well, apparently he's been executed now, so all of this is moot.
I do wonder, though, when I hear people talking about Human Rights... Why should anyone expect that liberal Western laws will apply in the rest of the world? Why is it more "humane" to keep someone locked up for life? Why is mental illness an excuse to avoid capital punishment?
That last one seems particularly strange... if you're a nutter, you can't be punished for crimes that you committed because you're a nutter. Huh?
Family claim man is mentally ill.
Reports say man was living rough in Poland when contacted by drug dealers.
I hope my family would take more interest in me when I am alive and sleeping rough.
""This guy was a very vulnerable person, extremely ill. He slipped through the cracks of society, and he was frankly failed by China and by their legal system"
And meanwhile his family did?
I think we should start asking a couple of questions about cases such as this and the one a month or so ago where a "British" woman escaped a similar fate by getting pregnant whilst in jail.
1. Why are they nearly always mentally ill? Could I have claimed that I was mentally ill a year or so ago when I was taking tablets for depression and used it as an excuse for breaking the law in this country? I did not become unaware of the law due to my temporary illness.
2. How did they get where they were in the first place. All seem to have no money; how comes it that they are travelling in the most unlikely places for someone of their background?
Personally, I have no sympathy with the mental illness arguments; if you are sufficiently ill not to realise what you are doing, how comes it that you were capable of getting there in the first place? And if you come from the type of background usually depicted, why on earth would you be there if not for some ulterior motive.
I support the death penalty when carried out after a fair trial, so the only question that I ask in any of these cases is whether the accused got a fair trial. I this case I would say that it was probably not fair to our standards, but probably fair by the standards of the region and certainly fairer than some countries that I could think of.
On balance, I think that the Chinese were probably correct.
I am always deeply suspicious of pulling the 'mentally ill' card or Asperger's card. Still the a death sentence seems a bit extreme. China does and always has done exactly what it wants to do and we take it because we want their business. That is what I find appalling.
I can only assume that those here who doubt the man's mental illness haven't heard the awful "bunny" song he thought would make him a recording star in China.
To my mind the death penalty is wrong and so is drug dealing.
The truth is, he did commit a crime - maybe the EU should try to forge an agreement with the Chinese that EU citizens committing a crime that, under their criminal justice system, invokes the death penalty should do a life term in an EU prison.
This should be compared with the fact that McKinnon did his hacking here in the UK yet the government are more than willing to hand him over to the US to serve a life sentence.
Furthermore, we also have the European warrant whereby a UK citizen can be deported for crimes committed in EU countries a poor example being the two lads deported to Greece for having been passengers in a vehicle that killed an individual in a road accident.
All those who find china's behaviour unacceptable should boycott Chinese goods... Say less do more.
I think you're out of touch with public opinion on this one, not to mention conservative values.
A couple of points.
First, to kill someone who presents no immediate threat to life or limb, i'd they are locked in a prison cell, is wrong. Self defence from a life-threatening act is one thing, but this is not the case.
Secondly the whole war on drugs is irrational and counter-productive. It enriches drug lords, impoverishes and criminalises users who, frankly, probably have enough on their plate as it is, and drives up crime to fund habits and maintain "turf".
Thus we have a man who is being killed for what should not even be a crime to begin with, unless it might be tax evasion!
As for Brown and our embarrassing, quisling, limp and normally toadying F&CO response... China is a sovereign nation. If people want to make a stand do as others have said and individuals boycott or not as per personal belief. Do us a favour, Gordon Brown, stay off our side.
I do not favour the death penalty.
China does. Don't want to get shot, don't go to China and commit capital offences. Is that complicated?
Of course he was mentally ill. How else would you consider shifting drugs in China a good idea.
If he was examined and found to be of sound mind the anti-death campaigners would find another reason why this is wrong.
If have the IQ to even pick up a bag of smack you know enough not to do it in China. With another soldier being killed in Afganistan I will not lose too much sleep over this man. Good riddance.
Good for the PRC!
The UK is too soft on crime.
Amazing how people suddenly develop mental illness when faced with life and death sentences isn't it?
And why is it that so many of these "british citizens" seem to have originated other than in the UK?
They're using up what little credibility we have left on the world stage.
"All those who find china's behaviour unacceptable should boycott Chinese goods"
I suppose that the device you used to make this comment was made in the UK then?
Anyone deciding not to use PRC products is going to make life very difficult for themselves.
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my earlier post.
You mention there was "strong evidence" that the convicted drug smuggler was mentally ill, what is this supposed strong evidence? If this criminal had a proven history of mental illness it would have shown up on his NHS/GP records, there would be evidence of stays in mental health facilities and the FO would have supplied this evidence to the Chinese legal system.
It is my firm belief that peddlers/suppliers/smugglers of this poison are mass murderers, they are killing innocent people with their filthy poison, I myself have lost a cousin to the evil of addictive drugs, it is a human tragedy beyond understanding for those involved.
The balance of one criminals life against the many victims of that criminals poison is an easy choice to make IMHO. The vast majority of people in the UK support the idea of capital punishment, it is no accident that our society has been disintegrating as our soft treatment,pandering to and protection of the criminal classes has increased. We in the UK live under the arrogant tyranny of the minority, who feel that protecting criminals rights and wellbeing over the rights and wellbeing of innocent law abiding people is a just aim.
We should be persecuting the criminal classes with determined vigour, we should be spreading fear and terror into the hearts of the criminal classes, we should let it be known that the criminal has the sole right to be caught and punished severely. I would like to see those who whine and whinge on behalf of the criminal classes use that energy on the victims instead.
Seems that China have about as much regard for the one eyed Scottish idiot as most of us do...Bravo to them....This man was a plain and simple drug dealer, got caught and goodnight Vienna!!
Oh yes his campaigning family....would that be those who admitted that they had`nt seen him in the last 2 years and hadnt been all that close even before that...
What really pisses me orf are the extended necks of the bleeding heart liberals who are daily ruining this once great country..
I strongly oppose capital punishment because I do not trust any government with that power nor do I trust any criminal justice system to get it right 100% of the time.
Having said that, if you go to a foreign country, you abide by their laws. If their laws include the death penalty, you are ipso facto accepting that by entering the country.
The Chinese system is, to my eyes, repulsive and inhuman but it is their country and their system and it smacks heavily of the worst and most smug European chauvinism to think that we have a right to dictate how they should run their country. It is also bordering on the racist to decree that someone with a British passport should be immune from any local laws that we don't like.
The days of Empire are over, I'm afraid, and we can no longer treat Johnny Foreigner's laws and national sovereignty with disdain.
I suppose that the device you used to make this comment was made in the UK then?
You are actually saying that the entire world is made up of the UK and China and that anyone and anything that does not originate in the one must originate in the other.
I totaly support the China in what they have done. we could do with some of it here.
If this man was mentaly unstable, to such an extent that it greatly affected his judgement, what was his family doing allowing him to travel overseas unaccompanied?
Where is it written that we have the right to interfere in the Judicial Souvrenty of another nation, even if we dissagree with the system. How would we feel if Beijing tried to get reduced sentances of Triads convicted and sentanced for crimes in London?
Their country, their rules.
You are actually saying that the entire world is made up of the UK and China and that anyone and anything that does not originate in the one must originate in the other.
I didn't say that, you're just splitting hairs.
It has been widely reported that the judges in the case found his evidence so incomprehensible that they actually laughed their way through his trial. At the very least, a psychologist should have been allowed to see him and report on his condition. How a trial could take place in 30 minutes is beyond me.
In your original post, you stated that
"Why is this criminals life worth more than his many victims? Why do people on this forum appear to forget the crime and the victims and concentrate on portraying the death dealing criminal as the victim?"
My point is that why should we see those who take drugs as "victims" and not "criminals"? They freely choose to take drugs, illegally, and thus are as criminal and blameworthy as the dealer (indeed, if it had been proven that this guy was mentally unfit, those taking the drugs would clearly be more blameworthy than him).
And, having studied criminology I take issue with your analysis of the criminal justice system. In fact, the prison population has risen dramatically under New Labour (partly as a result of Michael Howard's disasterous "prison works" speech), and has done little to affect crime rates (which are actually pretty stable when you look at the BCS and offical statistics - it is perception and fear of crime which has risen).
And the argument that victims should be given a special role in the prosecution of offenders is non-sensical in that it privatises disputes which should be handled by the State and can lead to inappropriate sentencing (e.g. the forgiveness of offenders by Christian families resulting in non-custodial sentences when a custodial sentence is appropriate). Various studies point to the failure of Victim Impact Schemes - letting down victims and unfairly prejudicing the rights of the accused (n.b. the accused, NOT the convicted)
I didn't say that, you're just splitting hairs.
You did say that. You specifically said that a computer must either be made in the UK or China, nowhere else. You said it. It is fact.
That you can say such stupid things is a testimony to your ignorance of the issues we are talking about. That you can attempt to backtrack and deny what you have said when challenged is a testimony to your moral weakness.
Why hasn't Baroness Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy had anything to say?
Is it because:
1.Her job is irrelevent
2.She is a non-entity
3.She is incompetent
4.The EU couldn't give a toss about one of its citizens being executed
5.All of the above
I'm holding a poll: Should China have executed drug smuggler Akmal Shaikh?
So far the Yes vote is winning.
If any UK Gov't (Tory or Socialist) had enough balls to have had allowed a referendum on capital punishment, then the Lockerbie bomber would certainly be pushing up the daisies rather than living it up in Tripoli.
"You did say that. You specifically said that a computer must either be made in the UK or China, nowhere else. You said it. It is fact.
That you can say such stupid things is a testimony to your ignorance of the issues we are talking about. That you can attempt to backtrack and deny what you have said when challenged is a testimony to your moral weakness."
No, I never said that, you're just nit-picking and getting yourself all excited about nothing.
Was he even British to begin with?
I can't wait to see the handwringers of Britain getting their knickers in a twist when the Chinese start telling us how to run our criminal justice system!
Why does the British Foreign Office think it has the right to interfere in the administration of justice in a sovereign nation?
In any case, the plea of mitigation (the bipolar disorder claim) does seem to have been produced rather late in the day to have been entirely credible.
There have been several things said by presumably my fellow British citizens that truly sicken me in this case:
A) The racist overtones of "oh that's a British name" or "is he even British anyway". He moved here aged 11. What's the cut-off point then? 10 years old? 6 months? These snide comments are absolutely disgusting.
B) The depth of his mental illness. Do these emails appear to be written by someone whom you believe to be sane?
The judge apparently laughed during the his 30 minute rambling in his own defence. Again, that must mean he is clearly sane, as many people seem to suggest.
C) The lack of misunderstanding of mental illness in general. Wikipedia can tell you that Bipolar can lead to periods of delusion:
"Judgment may become impaired; sufferers may go on spending sprees or engage in behavior that is quite abnormal for them...People may feel out of control or unstoppable. People may feel they have been "chosen," are "on a special mission," or other grandiose or delusional ideas."
Also the idea that because he ran a business successfully in the past means he could not possibly develop a mental illness at a later stage in his life is quite clearly ridiculous.
Mental illness in this country is still a taboo and massively misunderstood. It's about time we as a society learnt how to deal with it and talk about it, and least of all how it affects our judicial system. Thank God our judicial system is not based on the opinions of the mob - it has definitely been at its baying worst.
The sad fact is that there is a distinct possibility that if this had not become front page news, then China would not lose face by backing down on its judgement. The media had better wise up to the concept of face in Chinese society. The moment it was splashed across front pages was probably the moment this poor man was condemned to death.
Would spending the rest of his life in a prison cell in a remote part of China be any better?
A reprieve would have been to a life sentence and I doubt whether they would have allowed transfer to a UK prison because they know he would have been paroled after released after a year or so.
Reading letter and comments on newspaper websites you get the impression there was little sympathy for him amongst the majority of people.
In all this very few appear to be concerned about the victims who he would have peddled these drugs to. There is far to much concern about the criminal and not the victims.
The law in China about this has been carried out. He took a great risk and paid a terrible price.
Heroin kills - liberal attitudes allow it to.
It kills by injection, doesn't it?
Dog bites dog!
"Thank God our judicial system is not based on the opinions of the mob"
That cuts both ways, of course: there was no actual evidence or history of mental illness, no proper diagnosis, just wishful thinking and Internet speculation. If his defence had been able to present actual evidence of mental illness - any mention of it in his medical records, for example - that argument might have held a bit of water with the judges, but the Chinese judicial system requires actual evidence of insanity - a requirement his defence did not meet. The British government did provide medical records - but there was no mention of any mental illness in them!
It is not that the Chinese just don't accept insanity as a defence - other foreign defendants, who had actual evidence, have used it successfully - just that there wasn't enough to back up these claims.
The strongest impression those gibberish emails leave is of someone who is not a native English speaker - not entirely surprising from a Pakistani citizen living in Poland, even if he had gained a British passport at some point. Maybe the nonsensical content results from some undiagnosed mental health issues - or maybe he was drunk, or - given the company we now know he was keeping - drugs.
As far as I've seen, there was no actual evidence for his claim about being "tricked" into carrying the drugs; between his criminal record and morally questionable track record, why believe his stated version of events? It seems entirely plausible to me that he had a drug habit and was acting as a mule either to pay off debts to his dealers, or to earn money. Of course he wouldn't admit that, if true: it's no use as a defence, unlike claims to be "mentally ill" despite the absence of medical evidence.
I agree with those who think China's done little/nothing wrong. Blogged on it here if anyone's interested: http://bit.ly/7BWryN
Those who came out in support of a rightly convicted criminal should save their sympathy for victims instead. I'm glad China has not allowed itself to be bullied by our inept PM who apparently had nothing better to do then try to save the neck of a convicted drug trafficker.
The UK is the last country on earth that can lecture China when it comes to fighting crime.
I would encourage anyone to spend some time in China. Their cities are very safe, low crime, no anti-social behaviour, no vandalism... Then compare to the mayhem at home, with criminals running free thanks to our rotten justice system. China is obviously doing something right.
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