Briton: China defends case

2009-12-29 10:13

Beijing - China on Tuesday defended its handling of the case of a British man executed for drug smuggling, without confirming that the death penalty was carried out.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier announced the execution of Akmal Shaikh, saying he was "appalled and disappointed" at the decision to execute the 53-year-old father-of-three, who supporters say had bipolar disorder.

"A British citizen was sentenced to death for drugs smuggling. It was an independent criminal case. The Chinese judiciary has handled it strictly in accordance with the law," foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told reporters.

"China has fully protected the defendant's litigation rights."

When asked for confirmation that Shaikh had been put to death in Urumqi, the capital of China's far-western Xinjiang region, Jiang referred reporters to the regional government.

Calls to the regional government were not immediately returned.

When asked about Brown's comments, Jiang replied: "We express our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Britain's accusations. We hope it will not unnecessarily affect China-Britain relations."