WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand’s justice minister said on Wednesday she was looking into a High Court ruling that has ordered the government to reconsider the extradition of a man accused of murder to China because of concerns he may not be treated fairly.
New Zealand agreed in December to extradite a South Korean-born resident, Kyung Yup Kim, to Shanghai but in a ruling released on Tuesday Judge Jillian Mallon ordered the government to review the extradition.
“I‘m considering the judgment in detail,” Justice Minister Amy Adams said in an emailed statement, adding there were unspecified “additional matters” to be evaluated. The government can either review the extradition as ordered, or can appeal against the High Court’s ruling.
The extradition request is the first New Zealand has received from China and comes at a time when China is seeking to drum up international cooperation in a campaign to track down corruption suspects who have fled overseas.
The judge had raised concerns over whether Kim, who is not facing any corruption charges, would be protected from ill-treatment and given the right to silence before the trial. Mallon also questioned whether New Zealand would be able to tell third parties such as the United Nations if they found any evidence of Kim’s mistreatment in Chinese custody.
China said on Tuesday that the man was “hyping up” his right to a fair trial to evade justice and that China would continue to work with New Zealand authorities on the case, to “crack down on lawbreaking”.
Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield