The government yesterday demanded the immediate return of five Taiwanese who were deported to China earlier in the day by Kenya, despite their acquittal by a Kenyan court of telecommunications fraud charges.
It denounced the deportations as a violation of human rights.
“We deeply regret the violation of human rights and international practices bought about by the deportation of Taiwanese to China by Kenyan police and Beijing in defiance of the court’s not-guilty verdict and specific demands for their deportation to Taiwan,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.
The office has instructed the Executive Yuan and government agencies, including the Ministry of Justice and the Mainland Affairs Council, to negotiate with China, Huang said.
Beijing has been asked to promptly send the five Taiwanese to Taiwan in accordance with the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議), so that their personal freedom and legal rights can be safeguarded, Huang said.
Huang made the remarks hours after the five Taiwanese and 35 Chinese, who were also found not guilty in the same case, were forced to board a plane for China at about 11:30pm on Sunday.
The five Taiwanese were among a group of 77 fraud suspects — 48 Chinese, 28 Taiwanese and one Thai — detained by Kenyan police in November 2014 and charged with engaging in unlicensed telecommunications activities, using radio equipment without a license and organized crime.
Twenty-three of the Taiwanese were deported to Beijing following their acquittal by a court on April 5.
Kenyan authorities postponed the ruling in the last case five times since April, before unexpectedly moving the court appearance date from Aug. 23 to Friday last week, reportedly due to mounting pressure from China.
Executive Yuan spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) also lodged a protest over the deportation.
“The government’s stance is that the five Taiwanese could be returned to Taiwan to undergo judicial investigation here,” Tung said, adding that the government would continue to defend the rights and interests of the Taiwanese through cross-strait communication channels.
Tung also urged Beijing to value the achievements made through cooperation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, calling for cross-strait communications to solve the situation.
In a media release yesterday, the council expressed regret and issued a solemn protest over Beijing’s disregard for Kenya’s court ruling and human rights.
“Following our knowledge of Beijing’s intent to deport the five acquitted Taiwanese to China, the council made the government’s stance known to Chinese authorities and demanded that they allow Taiwanese government officials to take the acquitted Taiwanese to Taipei to face due legal process,” the council said.
The council said the deportation demonstrates Beijing’s indifference to the long-term tacit understanding established between government agencies in charge of cross-strait affairs, as well as Taipei’s repeated demands that Taiwanese not be deported to China.
It also hurt the feelings of Taiwanese, the council added.
“The government will continue to try to secure the return of the deported Taiwanese to subject them to investigations here,” the council said, adding that both sides should devise a way of handling similar cases through talks.
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