Lawsuit Against Jiang in Illinois, USA: Ready for Appeal
The judge for the U.S. Federal District Court in the Northern District of Illinois decided to keep his original verdict after listening to the lawyer's appeal at a court hearing on October 7. A representative from the U.S. State Department sat in on this hearing as prescribed by State Department conventions. This response from the judge came after the local lawyer, authorized by Terri Marsh, who is the lawyer of the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against Jiang Zemin, submitted additional legal documents on September 29 in regards to the judge's decision about the case on September 12.
Judge Matthew F. Kennelly stated that the district court would maintain the original verdict, but the plaintiffs may continue to appeal to higher courts.
The representative of the State Department refused to be interviewed after the trial. He said that he personally did not have any view on the case.
A source in Washington D.C. noted that the court made such a decision mainly because of pressure from the American government and the pressure it is receiving from Chinese diplomats. One of the American government's concerns is to protect U.S. President Bush from being sued similarly in other countries.
The lawyer representing the plaintiffs stated that they would continue to appeal to the higher courts.
After the hearing, Terri Marsh, the lawyer of the plaintiffs, told journalists that throughout history, all righteous efforts for freedom of belief have come across difficulties. Think about Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. What they did is regarded as correct today not because what they did was in accordance with public opinion at the time. It is because, more importantly, what they did was righteous. The persecution of Falun Gong has been against the human spirit and has violated Chinese laws, American laws, and international laws.
Terri Marsh also said that such righteous actions need support from all of us. Falun Gong practitioners will continue to appeal to a higher court (Note: The previous court this case was involved in was the seventh circuit court.)
Support from Mainstream Society and Pressure from the Chinese Government
Whether a dictator has head of state immunity or not is a hot topic in the field of international human rights law. As mentioned above, people including Senator Louis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Alan Dershowitz, a well-known American lawyer, and Georges-Henri Beauthier, a well-known human rights lawyer who participated in suing former Chili leader Augusto Pinochet, and so on, have all clearly pointed out that a previous head of state or a dictator who is sued for torture, genocide or crimes against humanity should not be given head of state immunity.
According to U.S. officials, after the case was brought to the U.S. Federal District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, the defendant Jiang Zemin, put pressure on the U.S. government on all fronts. For instance, Jiang ordered Chinese delegates not to hold any talks with their American counterparts. Chinese officials refused to receive letters from U.S. officials or to cooperate with the U.S. officials diplomatically. Chinese diplomats, under orders from Jiang Zemin and his regime, wrote letters to and called U.S. officials, requesting that the U.S. State Department take action with regard to this case, and specifically, to have it dismissed.