Sweden court refuses Beijing extradition bid

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 10 Jul 2019

Sweden's Supreme Court refused the extradition of a Chinese man accused of economic crimes, saying it would open him to a risk of persecution and the death penalty.

Qiao Jianjun, a former official of the China's grain administration who has lived mainly in the United States since 2011, is wanted by Beijing for graft. He is accused of embezzling over 200 million yuan (HK$226 million), according to documents Chinese authorities provided to Sweden.

Qiao contests the accusations and claims he has been in Beijing's sights since joining the China Democracy Party in 2010.

"He denies the crimes and is only being hunted by Chinese authorities because they think he isn't faithful to the [communist] party," his lawyer, Henrik Olsson Lilja, argued.

Sweden's top court said there was a "real risk" Qiao could be sentenced to death, and assurances otherwise by Chinese authorities could not be given enough weight to justify extradition. "The Supreme Court makes the assessment there is a risk he will be subjected to persecution because of his political activity and that he will be subjected to treatment in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights," Justice Petter Asp said.

Qiao was detained in Sweden in June 2018 at the request of China.

He was released last June 19 only to be again arrested a week later in another case. This time it was at the behest of US authorities, who suspect him of money laundering.

Sweden has given the United States until August 2 to submit more details before it decides on a potential extradition.

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