Please see below comment by Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of the mental health charity SANE, on the execution of Mr Akmal Shaikh in China:
“The execution of Mr Shaikh is a brutal and sad day for the rights of mentally ill people everywhere. The Chinese authorities showed not only lack of compassion for a sick person, but a profound ignorance about how a mental illness such as bipolar disorder can affect a person’s sense of reality.”
“Mr Shaikh’s lack of official medical records is no excuse for failing to give him a psychiatric assessment or offer him the treatment he needed. He clearly suffered from the classic symptoms of severe illness, and his disturbed thoughts, beliefs and delusions about bringing about world peace through recording a pop song in China made him easy prey to the criminal gang who duped him into carrying drugs. It should also have been known to Chinese professionals that the more disturbed a person is, the more they may be unaware of their condition, deny there is anything wrong and refuse to seek treatment. Mr Shaikh did not plead diminished responsibility, as would have applied in this country, after his arrest, but he had been displaying all the signs of untreated and deteriorating mental turmoil for years before.”
“Mental illness is punishment enough, and it is truly shocking that Mr Shaikh did not receive a psychiatric assessment and treatment and so suffered an unjustified death.”
For further information, please contact Margaret Edwards at the SANE Media Office on 020 7422 5556.