The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong.
Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review.
Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client would avoid extradition.
“It’s certainly a good decision at this stage, but we still can’t call it a success,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court has required that the lower court ask China to explain the nature of the sentence his client faces.
He said that Li was unlikely to get a fair trial in China and could be sentenced to life in prison or even death due to his membership of Falun Gong, a religious group that has been banned by Chinese authorities.
Kitajgrodzki has said that his client is also being targeted for quitting the Chinese Communist Party.
The charges leveled by China stem from a 2011-2012 business deal, the lawyer said.
He also said that it was about this time that Li, whose family made bed linens, moved to Sweden and subsequently gained citizenship there.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a Wednesday said in a statement to parliament that it had been “actively working” on the case and voiced concerns, saying that “human rights violations in China are extensive and appear to be on the rise.”
Regardless of any court ruling on the matter, under Polish law the minister of justice has the final say on extradition requests.
Kitajgrodzki said his client has already filed a complaint against the Chinese legal move with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
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