Sending suspects to China could cost New Zealand millions

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Bringing a murder suspect to trial in China could cost New Zealand taxpayers millions of dollars. This is because the authorities need to send additional diplomats to Shanghai to monitor his treatment. Documents obtained exclusively by AP. show.

But the documents also show New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta is confident that Chinese authorities will not torture suspects or give them an unfair trial. It is attracting attention all over the world.

New Zealand Supreme Court in April It was ruled that Kim Kyung-yeop can be handed over China with a landmark ruling that runs counter to the trends set by most democracies.

Following a 3-2 court decision, it is now up to Justice Minister Kiri Aran to decide whether to send Kim to China. In a statement to the Associated Press, Alan said he was first receiving legal advice on the complaint filed by Kim’s lawyers with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

In a document obtained by AP through New Zealand’s Public Records Act, a Foreign Affairs and Trade official outlined the potential costs of sending Kim to China.

They say Kim is likely to spend 10 years or more in prison if convicted, and New Zealand officials will be able to visit him every two days during his trial and every 15 days thereafter. It estimates that this will have a “long-term resource impact.”

They say additional senior consular staff will need to be posted in Shanghai to monitor Kim, estimating the cost for the first year to be NZ$377,000 ($234,000).

An official said in an email: “If Kim is convicted after the investigation and trial stages, the deployment of senior consular officials may need to be made permanent to meet surveillance expectations. No,” he writes.

But while authorities plan to closely monitor Kim Jong-un’s treatment, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Mahuta has said China will honor its promise to treat Kim Jong-un fairly, citing former Justice Minister Chris Faafoy. I tried to reassure him.

In an October letter to Fafoy, Mahfuta said that despite concerns she had about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, the “regressive” national security laws enacted in Hong Kong, “China supports guarantees.” Her clear view,” she wrote. China’s three-year detention of Canadians Michael Spever and Michael Kovrig on “false charges.”

“This will be a test for China. It is a case that the international community is watching,” Mahuta wrote in a letter to Faafoi.

“This means that China’s incentives to comply with the guarantee are strong. would seriously jeopardize our law enforcement cooperation and harm broader interests.

Faafoi replied to Mahuta the following month, saying he still considered Kim’s case “difficult and balanced”, enclosing letters from three advocacy groups opposing the extradition.

Mahuta replied that concerns about the human rights situation in China are well known.

“Mr. Kim’s case is not a political one — his case has nothing to do with Xinjiang or Hong Kong, nor is he subject to arbitrary detention for the reasons stated in my October 6 letter. There is no risk of being used for arbitrary detention,” Mahuta replied.

But she also hedged by saying her role is limited to providing advice on whether New Zealand can rely on China’s guarantees.

“The question of whether New Zealand should rely on these guarantees is your question as Minister of Justice,” she wrote, emphasizing the words.

In an interview, Kim’s attorney Tony Ellis said New Zealand’s attempt to say his clients would be treated fairly in China made little sense.

Mr. Ellis, for example, said that Mr. Kim could be unknowingly drugged to make a confession or deny that torture had taken place, so that the custodian could properly treat the client. said it would be impossible to monitor

According to Ellis, Kim was not in a suitable condition to travel to China due to the many medical problems he suffered, including severe depression, a small brain tumor, and liver and kidney disease. .

China’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The case has already been going on for 11 years in New Zealand and Mr Ellis said it amounted to a form of torture for his client.

Kim was first arrested in 2011 after China sought his extradition on charges of intentional murder.

He spent more than five years in a New Zealand prison, plus another three years spent in electronic surveillance, making him the longest remaining prisoner without trial in New Zealand today.

Court documents show that Kim is a South Korean citizen who immigrated to New Zealand with his family over 30 years ago when he was 14.

He is accused of murdering Pei Yuen Chen, a 20-year-old waitress and sex worker in Shanghai after traveling to Shanghai to visit another woman who was his girlfriend at the time.

Chen was found in a wasteland in Shanghai on New Year’s Eve 2009. An autopsy determined he had been strangled to death and had been hit on the head with a blunt instrument.

Chinese police say they have forensic and circumstantial evidence linking Kim to the crime, including a quilt found with the body. A distraught Kim told an acquaintance that he may have “beaten a prostitute to death.”

Kim says he is innocent. Ellis said it would be a case in his defense that his ex-girlfriend, who had ties to the Communist Party, was responsible for the crime.