Canadian Lawyers Take on Torture Suit Against Jiang Zemin
(Clearwisdom.net) On March 12, 2004, Canadian citizen Professor Zhang Kunlun requested Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's permission to press criminal charges against 22 persecutors of Falun Gong, including Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese president. At this time, professor Zhang Kunlun's lawyers are preparing paperwork for this lawsuit.
The Canadian paper Winnipeg Sun reported on March 15 in the local news column that a local lawyer was processing the case of Canadian citizen Zhang Kunlun, who had been tortured in China. Mr. David Matas is one of the two lawyers representing professor Zhang Kunlun. Mr. Matas accepted the case to set a legal precedent, which will send a clear message that the Canadian justice system will prosecute foreign government leaders responsible for cases of torture carried out against a Canadian citizen. Professor Zhang Kunlun was arrested numerous times for practicing Falun Gong. He was tortured while in custody in China and shocked with high-voltage electric batons.
According to the Taiwanese FTV network, the 63-year-old Zhang Kunlun, an art professor, was abducted and detained in China four times for practicing Falun Gong. Professor Zhang Kunlun pressed 45 charges, eight of which are against Jiang Zemin.
A Clearwisdom report from February 2004 relates that between October 2002 and November 2003, Jiang Zemin was sued in at least seven locations around the world, including Beijing, Chicago, Spain, Taiwan, Germany, Korea, and Belgium.
As FTV states, "Since Jiang is no longer a state head, he is not protected by immunity." If he is indicted and convicted by a Canadian court, he may face a formal warning or extradition.
The Winnipeg Sun report states that, "professor Zhang had moved to Canada after the alleged torture in 2001 and has since become a Canadian citizen. Now he is hoping to bring his alleged torturers and their bosses to justice in a Canadian courtroom." Said Mr. Matas, "a total of 22 people have been identified, including former Chinese president Jiang Zemin."
The report further quoted Mr. Matas as saying that there is a section under the Criminal Code that allows this country's judicial system to prosecute cases of torture on foreign soil as long as they happened to a Canadian citizen.
The attorney general must approve the case for it to go ahead, which lawyer Matas admitted is unprecedented in this country. "If the attorney general were to allow it, in theory, Canada could go to Interpol with these charges and they could go for an extradition treaty," said Matas. "If anything, this could bottle these people up in their own country so they cannot leave."