By all accounts, Akmal Shaikh, a 53 year old Pakistani whose family settled in
The background to Mr. Shaikh’s execution is curious in the extreme. He had a ‘supportive’ family, two of whom travelled to
We are now told that Mr. Shaikh was mentally ill, the same defence used by the English hacker to prevent his extradition to the
It is well known by drug prevention agencies that ‘barons’ habitually use vulnerable people to act as mules. This has two obvious benefits. The knowledge they can provide as part of a wider investigation is limited in the extreme, and their very vulnerability makes them less of a target when they arrive at their port of entry.
It is this vulnerability that results in the successful importation of drugs throughout the world. ‘Barons’ factor in a 10% detection rate, leaving 90% to reach the user The profits are enormous, so well worth the risk.
The Chinese reason, and not without cause, that if the vulnerable are going to be treated leniently, this will simply encourage the ‘barons’ to keep using them. The Chinese also reason, and again not without cause, that if leniency based on mental illness, or a dozen or more excuses, is not an option, then perhaps Akmal and others who follow him will pause to reflect.
Despite the best efforts of the British Government, the execution was carried out in accordance with Chinese law. We in the western world might ‘tut’ and click our teeth, and trot out statistics about China executing more of its criminals than the rest of the world put together, but it wasn’t so long ago that we here in Britain hanged children for theft, and often on the flimsiest of evidence, and it wasn’t until 1965 that we abolished capital punishment. That was scant comfort to the likes of Evans, Bentley and Riley.
I do not criticise the British Government for their efforts, but any idiot could have told them it was doomed to failure. However, I doubt the wisdom of criticising
Some, like Reprieve, may espouse a sort of universal morality, but if they do, they are living in a fool’s paradise. Barbaric punishment, much worse than lethal injection, is a daily reality, where adulterers and homosexuals are stoned to death, where ‘honour killings’ are a way of life, even in