A British man held prisoner in
China does not know he is due to be executed later this week, human rights groups in London warned Sunday, dpa reported.
Akmal Shaikh, 53, was found guilty of smuggling heroin, and is due to be executed on Tuesday, according to the legal charity Reprieve.
However, his family claim he is mentally ill, and the British Prime Minister,
Gordon Brown, and the British embassy in Beijing, have asked China to show clemency.
Shaikh is due to be executed on Tuesday morning, but will only be informed of the fact 24 hours in advance, for "humanitarian reasons", according to the Chinese authorities.
Shaikh is in a jail in the city of Urumqi, north west China.
His family have organised a petition, asking for clemency. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London dismissed that plea, saying Shaikh had been found guilty of smuggling four kilogrammes of heroin - enough to kill 26,800 people.
If the death sentence goes ahead, it would be the first time in 50 years that China has executed an EU citizen.
Shaikh's family believe the man was duped into carrying the drugs by a criminal gang.