Human Rights Court Makes Landmark Decision to Halt Extradition from Europe to China: Protects Defenders

The European Court of Human Rights (Court) unanimously agreed that the extradition of a Taiwanese man to China, previously recognized by Polish courts, would expose him to grave risks of torture, ill-treatment and deprivation of the right to a fair trial. European human rights NGO, Safeguard Defenders, report.

The NGOs indicated that the unanimous decision was a very clear denial of extradition for violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), torture and ill-treatment.

This momentous decision marks European countries finding it nearly impossible to extradite suspects to China again, the report said.

An NGO report on November 3 said the defendant’s lawyer, Polish law professor Marcin Gorski, said the court’s unanimous decision was significant and significant in reducing the likelihood of appeals by Poland and other countries. agreed to be

The ruling will take effect on October 6, three months from the date of issuance, unless an appeal is filed, according to the report.

Extradition to China

Hongtao Liu is the applicant in the case of Liu v. Poland. According to NGOs, this is the first known case of a court reviewing a case involving extradition to China.

Liu was arrested in Poland in 2017 under a Red Notice issued by Interpol in 2016. This is related to Chinese and Spanish investigations into international telecom fraud syndicates.

The group of nearly 260 people was reportedly composed mainly of Taiwanese citizens. In 2016-2017, a joint Spanish-Chinese police operation caught the group.

Spanish courts reportedly ignored serious considerations given in the ECHR and sent about 208 Taiwanese to China in several separate rounds in 2017-2018, despite protests from Taiwan. I approved the transfer.

The NGO also said it had lost contact with some of the extradited persons and that lawyers were unable to locate them or update them on their current status.

Hong Kong
Anti-criminal extradition bill protesters point laser beams outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on August 18, 2019. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images)

Liu, a Taiwanese born in 1980, is currently detained in Warsaw’s BiaƂowenka prison, represented in court by Gorski.

He alleged that his application for extradition to China would violate Articles 3 and 6(1) of the Convention. If extradited and put on trial, he would be at risk of torture and inhumane treatment, and would be denied a fair trial.

Polish officials referred to Spain’s decision in their defense, which was overruled by the court, adding that “cooperation between the Chinese government and international human rights groups is clearly limited.” Allegations of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment in Chinese detention centers continue,” the court said.pdf).

set a precedent

ECHR is a legally binding international judicial body, binding 46 European countries in one legally binding treaty. According to the report, it goes further than similar international papers.

Safeguard Defenders concluded the effect of the court’s legally binding decision as follows:

First, all current extradition requests to China should be denied.

Second, the justice ministries of the countries concerned should prohibit requests for judicial action from China.When

Third, extradition cases that have been approved but not yet implemented should be stopped.

The NGO said, according to the court, “anyone would face a real risk of abuse if extradited to China,” regardless of person, alleged crime, or other external factors.

In particular, Safeguard Defenders indicated that lawyers in both Italy and Cyprus have already cited decisions to ensure the denial of ongoing extradition requests in those countries.

Zhang Ting contributed to this report.

Mary Hong


Mary Hong has been a contributor to The Epoch Times since 2020. She reports on human rights issues and politics in China.