18 Nov 2009

NEW YORK – In an unprecedented decision, a Spanish judge has indicted five high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials for their role in crimes of torture and genocide committed against Falun Gong practitioners. Among the defendants is former CCP head Jiang Zemin, widely acknowledged as the chief instigator of the campaign to “eradicate” the spiritual practice.

Following a two-year investigation, Spanish National Court Judge Ismael Moreno last week notified attorney Carlos Iglesias of the Human Rights Law Foundation (HRLF) that the court had granted a petition to indict the defendants on charges of torture and genocide. According to the notice, for committing the crime of genocide, the defendants face imprisonment for up to 20 years and may be economically liable to the victims for damages.

The Judge’s notification also stated that the court had granted a petition to send rogatory letters (letter of request) to the five defendants in China with questions relating to each individual's involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong. The decisions followed a series of submissions to the court by Iglesias and other HRLF staff.

The defendants have 4-6 weeks to reply and could subsequently face extradition if they travel to a country that has an extradition treaty with Spain. The decision was taken under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows domestic courts to hear cases of genocide and crimes against humanity regardless of where they occur.

“This historic decision by a Spanish judge means that Chinese Communist Party leaders responsible for brutal crimes are now one step closer to being brought to justice,” said Iglesias. “When one carries out the crime of genocide or torture, it is a crime against the international community as a whole and not only against Chinese citizens. Spain is emerging as a defender of human rights and universal justice.”

Among the accused are former CCP leader Jiang Zemin, widely acknowledged as the primary instigator of the campaign launched in 1999 to “eradicate” Falun Gong. Also facing charges is Luo Gan, who oversaw the 610 Office, a nationwide secret police task force that has led the violent campaign. Chinese lawyers have compared the 6-10 Office to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo in its brutality and extra-legal authority.

The other three accused are Bo Xilai, current Party Secretary for Chongqing and former Minister of Commerce; Jia Qinglin, the fourth-highest member of the Party hierarchy; and Wu Guanzheng, head of an internal Party disciplinary committee. The charges against them are based on their proactive advancement of the persecution against Falun Gong when they served as top officials in Liaoning, Beijing, and Shandong respectively. In a Pulitzer prize-winning article, The Wall Street Journal’s Ian Johnson describes how Wu imposed fines on his subordinates if they did not sufficiently crackdown on Falun Gong, leading officials to torture local residents, in some cases, to death. (news)

Other evidence considered by the judge during his investigation included written testimonies from fifteen Falun Gong practitioners and oral testimonies from seven practitioners, including torture victims and relatives of individuals who had been killed in Chinese custody. The judge also relied on reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the U.N. Human Rights Commission to reach his decision, HRLF attorney Iglesias said.

To arrange for an interview with attorney Iglesias or one of the witnesses, please contact the Falun Dafa Information Center or the Human Rights Law Foundation.