As we are relatively unexposed to the dog-with-a-bone type media coverage of the UK, we might be forgiven for not having a clue who 53 year old Akmal Shaikh, who was executed this morning, was. Mr Shaikh is the first EU national to be executed in China in more than 50 years.
If you want gory details of the execution, at least according to a journalist’s imagination, the Daily Mail are doing a good line in the Robert Ludlum style of news writing.
According to a different article we learn that Akmal spent quite some time in Poland, was married to a Pole and is survived by two Polish children. The question was therefore raised as to why Poland did not join in the call for clemency? Aside from the issue of his children, which some might think enough of an excuse, there’s the general opportunity for a gang-bang on China’s human rights policies, never something to be turned down lightly.
China carries out almost three times as many executions as the rest of the world put together, according to the most conservative estimate by Amnesty International.
Nevertheless, Poland remained silent throughout, presumably on the basis that he wasn’t Polish, he annoyed the police in Lublin and didn’t pay his taxes:
Akmal was living with his Polish wife and two children in Poland until the marriage broke up. The British man stayed in Poland but got in trouble with the police in Lublin, charged with drunken driving and other crimes. He became homeless and fell into financial trouble.
Okay, but to come right out and deny that anyone had heard about the case? Is it possible not to have heard about this case? Was nobody in the government aware of the Polish links to this man?
“I have not heard about his case and the Office of the President has not taken any action,” Paweł Wypych said on behalf of President Lech Kaczynski. Poland’s Foreign Ministry also said that it did not know the details of the case.
I then looked a little harder at the pictures that have been splashed all over the news of this man and you know, I swear they are all set in Poland! The most used snap is the one below. Not immediately identifiable but I’m guessing from the Egyptian symbol behind him that he’s enjoying a delicious meal in a branch of the famous “Skunks” restaurants in Poland. Sorry, that should be “Sphinx”.
What’s more, if you look at this article in the Telegraph, the guy’s standing next to a number 405 Polish bus and the image text says “Akmal Shaikh in Poland in 2007” – bit of a give away really. Is that the PKiN in the background? Still, let’s just ignore him and hope it all goes away.
So, he’s come from North London to Poland and lived here for quite a long time as far as we can tell. He married a Polish girl and had two children but sometime after, his life took a turn for the worse, quite a lot worse by the sounds of it:
Due to his illness he became convinced that he would become a pop star in China and eventually turned up in the country in 2008 with 4 kg of heroin in his possession.
What kind of illness makes you think you’ll be a pop star in China? Why do you need to 4kg of heroin to be a pop star in China? How did he manage to buy that much Heroin anyway? Well, according to the BBC
His daughter has said drug smugglers in Poland convinced him they would make him a popstar in China.
Aha, so here we have yet another link to Poland. Due to his (alleged) deteriorating mental health and difficult circumstances he was picked on by Polish drug smugglers and, tempted by the thought of being a Chinese pop star, he was tricked by them into smuggling 4kg of heroin into China.
So if I’m right, the wife is Polish, the kids are Polish, the drugs are Polish, the smugglers are Polish and his home for the last good while was Poland. But we’ve never heard of the case and we’d rather just keep quiet about it?
Then again, we could just take the stance, that many no doubt will, that he was a no-good drug smuggling Brit who treated his Polish wife and kids terribly and deserves to have been killed by the warm and cuddly state of China with whom we have such a good trading relationship.
Am I allowed to mention the fact that he’s brown and not Catholic? Or is that really too mischievous even for me? :-)
If only he had been a famous movie director, or something…..