China Executes Mentally Disturbed Drug Offender By Firing Squad

Despite pleas and protests, Akmal Shaikh, a 53 year old Briton with bi-polar disease, was executed by a firing squad in China a few hours ago.

Shaikh was only told of his execution yesterday. He is the first European national to be executed in China in 50 years.

His offense involved 4 kilograms of heroin. China allows the death penalty for quantities in excess of 50 grams (less than two ounces.)

His cousins were with him when he was told of his execution and said he was "very upset."

The anti-death-penalty organisation Reprieve said it had medical evidence that Shaikh believed he was going to China in 2007 to record a hit single that would usher in world peace. It said he was duped into carrying a suitcase packed with heroin on a flight from Tajikistan to Urumqi.

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  • Display: Sort:
    And to think (none / 0) (#1)
    by SOS on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 11:09:39 PM EST
    this is the country that will be leading the world economically very soon. I wish us all luck.

    Like the United States (none / 0) (#2)
    by Andreas on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 03:27:51 AM EST
    The United States also has executed mentally disturbed people.

    I would find it surprising to find (none / 0) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 11:16:59 AM EST
    that any murderer is not, or was not at the time of the murder, to some extent, "mentally disturbed."

    Well that was different (none / 0) (#11)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 11:35:17 AM EST
    it was during a hotly contested campaign.

    Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 08:02:19 AM EST
    carrying a suitcase full of H...Murder....Carrying a suitcase full of H...Murder.

    I don't need a Chinese law book to tell me what the crime was here.

    Never borrow money from (none / 0) (#14)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 12:04:09 PM EST
    people you dont like.

    There's some street wisdom for you.


    Bipolar (none / 0) (#4)
    by Lacy on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 08:40:34 AM EST
    "Bipolar" per se is only questionably referred to as a "disease".  "Disorder" is typically used to describe it...But those who recognize its widespread presence in humans, existing as a continuum all the way from "normal" to  psychosis see it more as a "Syndrome". So "Bipolar" can describe levels of affect all the way from normal to those severely disturbed (where other disorders may overlap).

    In fact, one of the best insights for almost every mental disorder is to visualize its individual symptom levels as forming a continuum...from normal to severely pathological across the spectrum of those affected. Millions of "Bipolars" are undiagnosed, and even more millions just haven't yet faced a suffient emotional shock that triggers the symptoms.


    Bipolar (none / 0) (#5)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 09:03:21 AM EST
    is the new black.

    Countries with Death penalty for Drugs (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 10:03:27 AM EST
    China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Iran, United States of America.

    Please provide a reference, Ben (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 10:29:45 AM EST
    for the claim that any jurisdiction in the U.S. authorizes a death penalty for "drugs."

    Federal. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 11:58:20 AM EST
    18 USC 3591(b) (1)
    (b) A defendant who has been found guilty of--
    (1) an offense referred to in section 408(c)(1) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 848 (c)(1)), committed as part of a continuing criminal enterprise offense under the conditions described in subsection (b) of that section which involved not less than twice the quantity of controlled substance described in subsection (b)(2)(A) or twice the gross receipts described in subsection (b)(2)(B)

    shall be sentenced to death if, after consideration of the factors set forth in section 3592 in the course of a hearing held pursuant to section 3593, it is determined that imposition of a sentence of death is justified, except that no person may be sentenced to death who was less than 18 years of age at the time of the offense.

    I think you are mistaken about 3591(b), Ben. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 12:41:32 PM EST
    Doesn't that statute only set forth the criteria and procedures for imposing a death sentence for a drug offense, where a death sentence is already otherwise authorized by the Controlled Substances Act? The crime it refers to is actually found in 21 USC 848(b), which allows a death sentence only as described in 848(e).  Both subsections of (e) require an intentional killing.  If not, then I am quite sure that section 3591(b), read independently, would be unconstitutional (particularly in light of last year's Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana, invalidating a death penalty for intentional but nonfatal rape of a child).  I wonder if any Attorney General has ever authorized section 3591(b) to be invoked as a stand-alone basis for a death penalty.  

    Also, I should have mentioned in my earlier comment that the death penalty can also probably be imposed under U.S. Constitutional law for treason and possibly for espionage, at least in wartime (even if committed by a civilian), although no such case has gone to the S.Ct. or as far as I know to any lower federal appeals court since the S.Ct. established the current constitutional framework for capital punishment.  


    Kennedy v Louisiana only (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 01:11:04 PM EST
    dealt with State imposed Death Penalties. Federal ones weren't before the Court.

    My friend Marc Emery, the Vancouver marijuana seed merchant and activist, was initially facing the Death penalty, subsequently waived because Canadian law forbids extradition of defendants facing execution.

    3591(a)  deals with death penalty for kingpins involved in a murder, (b) is for drug kingpins when there's no murder.


    In the U.S., the Supreme Court (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 10:24:44 AM EST
    only allows the death penalty to be imposed for an intentional murder, and only if the decisionmaker operates under a structured system for weighing aggravating circumstances (which must be clearly defined in advance) against mitigating circumstances (which cannot be strictly defined in advance). Mental disturbance not rising to the level of a defense to guilt must be considered as a mitigating circumstance in relation to penalty, but by no means precludes capital punishment.  Death as a sentence for drug dealing of any sort would be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment as "cruel and unusual punishment."  It was only in 1986, however, and only by a very closely divided vote (5-4, with a split decision even within the majority) that the U.S. Supreme Court in Ford v. Wainwright held it unconstitutional to execute a mentally ill prisoner.  The standard, as clarified just two years ago in Panetti v. Quarterman is that the prisoner may not be executed unless s/he at least has not only an awareness but also some rational understanding of the nature of and reason for the penalty that is to be imposed.

    The Court, in prohibiting STATES to execute (none / 0) (#13)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 12:02:17 PM EST
    for offenses other than murder, left the Feds the power.
    Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343)

    Not an accurate reading (none / 0) (#17)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 01:19:43 PM EST
    of Kennedy v Louisiana, in my opinion, Ben.  The Court left open the possibility of a constitutional death penalty not involving a crime against an individual, and under military law.  I don't think it's fair or accurate to say they left open the whole field of federal death penalties.

    The Federal DP wasn't before them (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:08:52 PM EST
    As several people upthread have said (none / 0) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 11:14:46 AM EST
    to suggest that being "bi-polar" is a legitimate cause of planning and committing drug trafficking crimes is simply (and probably willfully) ignorant.