China: British man executed

Reacting to news that British man Akmal Shaikh was executed in China earlier this morning, Amnesty International Asia Programme Director Sam Zarifi said:

"Akmal Shaikh's execution highlights the injustice and inhumanity of the death penalty, particularly as it is implemented in China.

"Much information about the death penalty is considered a state secret, but Mr.. Shaikh's treatment seems consistent with what we know from other cases: a short, almost perfunctory trial, where not all the evidence was presented and investigated, and the death penalty applied to a non-violent crime.

"Under international human rights law, as well Chinese law, a defendant's mental health can and should be taken into account, and it doesn't seem that in this case the Chinese authorities did so.

"It's simply not enough for the Chinese authorities to say 'we did the right thing, trust us'. Now, there can be no re-assesment of evidence, no reprieve after a man's life has been taken. Amnesty International will continue to campaign for an end to the death penalty and for China to bring transparency and respect for human rights into its judicial system.

"The UK, the EU, and the rest of the world should continue to press the Chinese government to increase the transparency surrounding the death penalty in China and to improve the due process offered all defendants, particularly those facing charges punishable by death."

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