Winners and Losers
Listen to Today's Edition
New Zealand’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a man accused of murder could be extradited to China, a ruling that could set a precedent for future extradition cases and has raised concerns over whether the defendant will receive a fair trial in China’s legal system, the Associated Press reported.
The defendant, South Korean national Kyung Yup Kim, was arrested in 2011 after China asked New Zealand to extradite him for the alleged 2009 murder of a young woman in Shanghai. Since then, he has been incarcerated in New Zealand prisons for more than five years and spent three more years on electronic monitoring.
Kim claims innocence, but Chinese authorities say they have forensic and circumstantial evidence linking him to the murder of Peiyun Chen, a 20-year-old waitress and sex worker.
Previous courts have appealed his extradition, with Kim’s lawyers saying that he would not get a fair trial in China and could be tortured while in detention.
Concerns over the mistreatment of suspects have also stopped other democratic countries from extraditing alleged criminals to China.
But New Zealand’s top court said that China gave enough assurances that Kim would get a proper trial, adding that he will be jailed in Shanghai, where New Zealand consulate staff could monitor him before and during the proceedings.
Kim’s lawyers said they will try to stop the extradition.
The decision could be hailed as a legal and diplomatic victory for the Chinese government. One of Kim’s lawyers, Tony Ellis, warned that Beijing could see the verdict as an encouragement to start extradition cases against other people who have fled the country.