Chinese tell British drug-smuggler Akmal Shaikh will die tomorrow

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A British man under arrest in China on drug smuggling charges was told Monday is to be executed 10.30am (0230 GMT) today.

Mr. Sally Rowen, the legal director of the anti-death penalty organization Reprieve, says Chinese authorities have told Akmal Shaikh is to die Tuesday after being convicted of smuggling heroin into the country, The Times of London reported.

"He has been told this morning that he is to be executed tomorrow morning," said Mr. Sally Rowan. "I don’t know what his reaction was but I just know that he has been told. The Chinese authorities had always said they would tell him 24 hours ahead."

The newspaper said Shaikh was in detention in the western Chinese city of Urumqi while in possession of 4 kilograms, or 8.8 pounds, of heroin. It said that if the execution is carried out as planned, Shaikh would become the 1st European national to be executed in China in 50 years.

His daughter, Leilla Horsnell, told that she was not optimistic her father would stay alive. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has repetitively asked China officials for mercy in Akmal Shaikh case, reiterating that Britain opposes the death penalty. 

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