Calls made to reopen 1989 case of ‘racist’ city killing

Axmed Abuukar Sheekh was stabbed to death after being racially abused
Axmed Abuukar Sheekh was stabbed to death after being racially abused
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CALLS have been made to reopen the case of a “racist” murder which took place in the Capital more than two decades ago.

Axmed Abuukar Sheekh was stabbed to death on the Cowgate shortly after being the victim of racist abuse by football casuals in January 1989.

It is hoped by using the recently introduced double jeopardy legislation, and on the momentum from the conviction and jailing of the killers of Stephen Lawrence, justice for his family and campaigners can be found.

The 28-year-old Somali student was with his female cousin at the time, and managed to drag himself to a phone box where he collapsed. He later died in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Three men were arrested, two of whom were brought to trial.

However, after the eight-day hearing charges against one were dropped completely, while another was found guilty only of possessing a knife and of assault, with his murder charge also dropped.

Supporters and campaigners held a torchlit march in the Capital to mark the tenth anniversary of the killing.

Today the campaigners are urging Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland to reopen the case.

Joan Weir, who mentored Mr Sheekh as he attended the city’s Stevenson College, formed the Axmed Sheekh Commemorative Group after his death, and is responsible for tending to his grave.

She was today reported as saying: “There was clear racist evidence. I believe there remains a responsibility on those of us, black and white, in Scotland who were involved at the time to try to ensure this case is included in any review.”

She has enlisted the help of Edinburgh Southern MSP Jim Eadie, who will lobby for a reopening of the investigation.

He said: “On the face of it there are parallels with the Stephen Lawrence trial and, given the seriousness and significance of this case I have written to the Solicitor General asking her to look at whether it could be included in the review being conducted into which cases may be prosecuted under the new act.

“That is the very least we owe Mr Sheekh and his family.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The Lord Advocate has asked the Solicitor General to review cases that may be able to be prosecuted anew under the new Double Jeopardy Act.

“It is too early to speculate on how any particular case will be dealt with as a result.

“We can confirm that we have received a letter today from Jim Eadie MSP relating to the death of Axmed Abuukar Sheekh in January 1989 and will respond to him in due course.”