A Cypriot judge denied last week an extradition requests citing a lack of fair trials in China, a decision said to be a precedent for many other cases on the island, in Europe, and around the world.
According to foreign media reports, a Larnaca district court judge last week denied the extradition of Ma Chao, who is wanted by authorities in Beijing for financial crimes.
Earlier this year the Chinese embassy in Cyprus dismissed reports in local media that accused Beijing of using scare tactics on the island to get Ma extradited.
Peter Dahlin, director of NGO Safeguard Defenders, was part of the defense that presented the Larnaca judge with an expert report on the Chinese criminal justice system
Local media had published a report based on a Washington Post article, alleging that Beijing was harassing Ma’s female partner, Chinese national Liu Lingshuang who lives in Cyprus, as well as their relatives in their country, to push her to persuade him to stop fighting his extradition to China.
The Chinese embassy in Nicosia has dismissed the reports as fake news, arguing that Lingshuang was implicated in the case as a suspected member of a criminal gang, along with their relatives who are also suspected to have taken part in a Ponzi scheme to the tune of €98 million.
But judge in Larnaca ruled last Friday that Ma’s extradition would be in violation of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning torture and ill-treatment, pointing out that diplomatic assurances offered by Chinese authorities were “insufficient to overcome serious risks” to his human rights.
Peter Dahlin, the director of anti-China NGO Safeguard Defenders, was part of the defense that presented the Larnaca judge with an expert report on the Chinese criminal justice system.
The extradition was also denied on grounds of significant risk of arbitrary detention and concerns over guarantees to the right to a fair trial in China, an argument that the judge accepted in an unprecedented move in Cypriot and European courtrooms.
State officials from China also took the witness stand. Knews could not obtain details about the prosecutor in the case.