Kriss Donald – The Racist Killing of an Innocent Schoolboy
Kriss Donald 2 July 1988 – 15 March 2004
Kriss Donald was a 15-year-old white Scottish boy who was kidnapped and murdered in Glasgow in 2004 by a gang of men of Pakistani origins.
On 15 March 2004, Kriss was abducted from Kenmure Street by five men associated with a local British Pakistani gang led by Imran Shahid. The kidnapping was supposedly revenge for an attack on Shahid at a nightclub in Glasgow city centre the night before by a local white gang.
The innocent schoolboy had nothing to do with the attack and was randomly selected by the gang who were hunting for any white boy to exact revenge for the attack.
Kriss was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Despite protesting his innocence Kriss was bundled into a car and was savagely attacked over a prolonged period of time before the gang took him to Clyde Walkway where he was horrifically murdered .
The corner stated that the murder was the most savage and brutal they had ever seen. Kriss was beaten and then held down while he was repeated stabbed more that a dozen times. While still alive he was doused in petrol and set on fire as he bleed to death.
The RACIST Murder of Kriss Donald
The case highlighted the lack of attention the media and society in general give to white sufferers of racist attacks compared to that given to ethnic minorities. It is also suggested the crime demonstrates how society has been forced to redefine racism so as to no longer include white victims.
Initially, two men were arrested in connection with the crime. One man, Daanish Zahid, was found guilty of Kriss Donald’s murder on 18 November 2004 and was the first person to be convicted of racially motivated murder in Scotland.
Another man, Zahid Mohammed, admitted involvement in the abduction of Donald and lying to police during their investigation and was imprisoned for five years. He was released after serving half of his sentence and returned to court to give evidence against three subsequent defendant
Extradition of three men to Scotland
The Pakistani police had to engage in a “long struggle” to capture two of the escapees. There is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and Britain, but the Pakistani authorities agreed to extradite the suspects.
There were numerous diplomatic complications around the case, including apparent divergences between government activities and those of ambassadorial officials; government figures were at times alleged to be reluctant to pursue the case for diplomatic reasons.
The three extradited suspects, Imran Shahid, Zeeshan Shahid, and Mohammed Faisal Mushtaq, all in their late twenties, arrived in Scotland on 5 October 2005. They were charged with Donald’s murder the following day. Their trial opened on 2 October 2006.
On 8 November 2006, the three men were found guilty of the racially motivated murder of Kriss Donald. All three had denied the charge, but a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh convicted them of abduction and murder.
Each of the killers received sentences of life imprisonment, with Imran Shahid given a 25-year minimum term, Zeeshan Shahid a 23-year minimum and Mushtaq receiving a recommended minimum of 22 years
Lack of media coverage
The BBC has been criticised by some viewers because the case featured on national news only three times and the first trial was later largely confined to regional Scottish bulletins including the verdict itself. Although admitting that the BBC had “got it wrong”, the organisation’s Head of Newsgathering, Fran Unsworth, largely rejected the suggestion that Donald’s race played a part in the lack of reportage, instead claiming it was mostly a product of “Scottish blindness”.
In preference to reporting the verdict the organisation found the time to report the opening of a new arts centre in Gateshead in its running order. The BBC again faced criticisms for its failure to cover the second trial in its main bulletins, waiting until day 18 to mention the issue and Peter Horrocks of the BBC apologised for the organisation’s further failings.
“it was a fact that it was harder to get the media interested where murder victims were young white men”.
The British National Party was accused by Scotland’s First Minister and Labour Party MSP Jack McConnell among others of seeking to exploit the case for political advantage, and an open letter signed by MSPs, trades unionists, and community leaders, condemned the BNP’s plans to stage a visit to Pollokshields. The group did hold a rally in the area, leading to accusations that it was fuelling racial tension.
Conduct of accused
Following their convictions, the killers – particularly Imran Shahid, due to his reputation and distinctive appearance – continued to draw attention for events that occurred inside the prison system. From the time of their remand in 2005, it was known to the authorities that other prisoners had particular intent to attack the accused, and an incident at HMP Barlinnie prompted Imran Shahid to be placed in solitary confinement, a practice which continued regularly until 2010, due to the continual threat of violence against him, and the aggressive behaviour he showed when he did come into contact with others.
He appealed against this measure as a breach of his human rights, which was rejected in 2011 and in 2014 but upheld in October 2015 by the UK Supreme Court. It was found that prison rules had not been correctly adhered to in the application for, or extension of, some periods totalling 14 months of his 56 months of detention, but that overall, the reasons for keeping him in solitary confinement for his own safety were valid.
He was not offered any financial compensation, which he had tried to claim.
In the interim, the concerns over violent reprisals had proven correct, as Shahid was attacked twice (the second incident, in which a fellow murderer struck him with a barbell weight in the gym at HMP Kilmarnock in 2013, caused serious injury) and also attacked another prisoner with a barbell, for which he was sentenced to additional jail time in March 2016; he had received a concurrent sentence for violence in 2009 after being racially abused by another prisoner.
Shahid also received media attention for cases he brought against the prison service governors in 2017 for unlawful removal of his possessions (a ‘penis pump’ for erectile dysfunction which was deemed to have negligible medical benefit, and an Xbox games console which it was believed could have been adjusted to access the internet), which were dismissed.
Zahid Mohammed, who later changed his name to Yusef Harris to avoid connection to the murder, was convicted and imprisoned in 2017 for another separate incident involving weapons, threats and driving his vehicle at police.
In 2009, the sibling of the Shahid brothers, Ahsan Shahid, and the brother of Faisal Mushtaq, Farooq Mushtaq, were both convicted and imprisoned for their own involvement in violent gang-related disorder in Pollokshields which included the use of firearms. A third man, Omar Sadiq was also convicted. In September 2020, Omar Sadiq was stabbed to death in a violent attack in Glasgow. Ahsan Shahid also had previous convictions for fraud from 2002 and was jailed for the same crime in 2017 along with his wife.
Main source: Wikipedia