(Clearwisdom.net) At noon of December 23, 2004, Falun Gong practitioners from Northern California and Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability Ms. Sandra Colliver held a press conference in front of the Federal Court San Francisco. They announced that former Mayor of Beijing and current Communist Party Secretary of Beijing Liu Qi was found guilty by the court for his role in the persecution of Falun Gong. Human rights lawyers stated that this verdict has important significance in protecting human rights and deterring crimes against humanity.

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Lawyer and Executive Director of San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability Ms. Sandra Colliver speaks at the press conference

On June 11, 2003, the local federal court found Liu Qi guilty and denied diplomatic immunity. The verdict was sent to a higher-level court. On December 8, 2004, Judge Wilkin of the United States District Court, Northern District of California affirmed a magistrate's ruling that Beijing Communist Party Secretary Liu Qi is liable for the crimes of torture and crimes against humanity carried out by police under his administration in the persecution of Falun Gong.

Ms. Colliver said that this was an important case after the United States Superior Court reaffirmed that the Alien Tort Claims Act in 2002. She said that the ruling could be a precedent used by future cases.

Colliver said that the court first determined that the torture and sexual assault committed against Falun Gong practitioners by Beijing policemen violated international human rights treaties. The executer of the persecution policy Liu Qi should be held responsible. He knew that his subordinates tortured Falun Gong practitioners, but he didn't stop or punish the torturers.

Colliver also mentioned that the State Department sent two letters to the judge, asking for the case to be dismissed, saying that the verdict would interfere with foreign policy. The Judge declined the request and stated that the criminal evidence was clear and sufficient. It will not interfere with U.S. foreign policy because the court is defending the principles of the United States in protecting human rights.

Chairman of the Center for Justice & Accountability Joshua Sondheimer wrote a letter to the press conference. In the letter, Mr. Sondheimer stated that Liu Qi, as the Mayor of Beijing, clearly knew that his policemen were torturing Falun Gong practitioners, so he must be held responsible for it. He also said that people should not keep silent in face of the persecution of Falun Gong. To protect human rights and stop crimes against humanity, people must speak up to stop the persecution.

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Falun Gong practitioner Matt reads the letter from Mr. Sondheimer

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Liu Qi received the subpoena in San Francisco while on his way to Salt Lake City to attend the Winter Olympics as the director of the Chinese Olympic team in 2002. He was charged with the crimes of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, arbitrary detention, crimes against humanity, and interference with freedom of religion and belief. The six plaintiffs were two citizens of China, two Swiss citizens, one French and one American who were beaten in Beijing.

Falun Gong Spokesman Adam Leining said that the verdict pointed out that China's government was perpetrating crimes against humanity but denying the human rights violations. Their actions were violating China's own laws.

The Falun Gong practitioners said that they held the press conference to publicize the information and send out an important message to those who persecuted Falun Gong: They will be brought to justice and held accountable for their crimes.