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Officials to see condemned Briton Akmal Shaikh in China

Officials to see condemned Briton Akmal Shaikh in ChinaBritish consular staff are set to fly to the Chinese region of Xinjiang to see condemned Briton Akmal Shaikh and discuss his case.

The government has asked for clemency to be shown because he is believed to suffer from bipolar disorder.

The Beijing-based staff will fly to the city of Urumqi where he is being held.

Mr Shaikh, 53, from London, is due to be executed on Tuesday. He has denied knowledge of the 4kg of heroin found with him in 2007.

The Briton would become the first EU national to be executed in China in 50 years.

His family says he has bipolar disorder and travelled to China with the promise of being made into a pop star, despite having no singing experience.

The charity Reprieve, which promotes human rights, said he was then duped by a criminal gang into unwittingly carrying drugs for them.

They say his strange behaviour was “influenced or caused by” his mental illness. Consular staff are expected to talk to Chinese officials about the case.

Mr Shaikh’s final appeal against his conviction was turned down earlier this week.

Britain has raised this case with China 10 times during the last six months at senior levels to argue forcibly against the use of the death penalty.

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