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In a last bid to help block an extradition to China, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry falls short

A Swedish citizen and Falun Gong adherent is facing extradition to China. The man, in custody in Poland since March 2019 after being detained on an Interpol red notice, has his final hearing – in Poland’s Supreme Court - on Friday, January 15, at 14:30.

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Ann Linde, the Swedish Foreign Minister, provided a written statement to Parliament on Wednesday, January 13, at 11:15. The statement was in response to two separate questions lodged by MPs about what Sweden is doing to assist its citizen, one from Hans Wahlmark, foreign policy spokesperson for lead opposition party Moderaterna (filed January 4) and likewise part of its executive committee, as well as deputy chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Swedish parliament, and one from Markus Wiechel, from right-wing party the Swedish Democrats (filed January 5), and member of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Swedish parliament.

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Below is, translated from Swedish, an excerpt of the official statement. All parts are quotes from the statement, unless otherwise clearly noted.

The foreign ministry (UD) is working actively with the case of Li Zhihui since we received information about his deprivation of freedom in March 2019. [Followed by a description of the questions posed].

UD is working through our embassy in Warsaw and from the department in Stockholm. We are in close contact with Polish authorities regarding this process. The embassy has visited Li in jail and is in close contact with this legal representative.

In the report from the UD on human rights, rule of law, and democracy it is documented that our assessment is that rule of law is applied and respected selectively in China. One conclusion drawn is that violations of human rights are widespread and appear to increase. The death penalty exists for a list of offenses, including economic crimes such as embezzlement, corruption, and bribery. The Swedish worry over the situation of human rights in China is well known by Polish authorities. The EU has also several times expressed concern for human rights in China.

We expect that Poland will act in accordance with its international legal commitments. Of special relevance are the commitments in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights and basic freedoms.

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The Swedish Foreign Ministry has again chosen to not act to properly defend this Swedish citizen risking extradition to China, by failing to point out the key issues missed by the Polish prosecutor and court in prior proceedings, namely

a) the existence of a non-judicial organ in China for investigating economic crimes related to State functionaries, party members, or related to either – during which time the suspect is placed into liuzhi, a system for prolonged and secret detention without any right to access legal counsel. Likewise, no guarantee has been issued by the Chinese authorities that the NSC (also known as CCDI when used on party members) will be used, which would render any extradition illegal regardless of the below.

b) the systematic use of torture and use of forced confessions (in violation of ECHR art 3),

c) the lack of an independent judicial system, the control of it by a political party, the over 99.96% [in 2019] conviction rate at trial of first instance, and therefore the inability of Li to have access to a fair trial (in violation of ECHR art 6).

d) the Foreign Minister also fails to point out Supreme Courts in other ECHR-bound countries, Sweden and the Czech Republic, have denied such extraditions on those very grounds, along with;

e) the inability to trust the guarantees issued by the Chinese side, as a significant body of evidence exist to show that such guarantees are regularly broken. In addition, it fails to point out that the guarantees issued by the Chinese embassy in Poland have no legal standing, as no guarantees nor documentation of such has been provided by the relevant judicial authorities in China. China is therefore not bound legally to any such guarantees.

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