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German sentenced to death for murder in Xiamen, China

A German has been sentenced to death in China for the first time in modern history. The 36-year-old man was convicted of a double murder in Xiamen in 2010. Berlin has vowed to stop the execution.

A court in Xiamen, in southeast China, on Tuesday sentenced a German national to death. The man has not been named, in accordance with German press guidelines.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday that the man had been convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her partner on a street in Xiamen in June 2010 using a hammer and a knife.

This initial judgment must now be confirmed by a higher court before the execution can take place.

Berlin vows to prevent execution

Schäfer stressed that the verdict could be appealed and underlined Germany's opposition to the death penalty. He said Berlin would do "everything in its power" to ensure that the death sentence wouldn't be carried out.

"The German government categorically opposes all forms of capital punishment ... and this of course applies all the more when German nationals are threatened abroad."

This is the first time on record that China has sentenced a German national to death. The last time a European was executed was in 2009, when China put to death a British citizen for drug smuggling. The British government responded to the execution of Akmal Shaikh with condemnation.

glb/mkg (dpa, AFP)

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