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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Canadian Torture Survivor Seeks Private Prosecution

Media Advisory

WINNIPEG - Leading human rights lawyer Mr. David Matas will represent Canadian torture survivor and Falun Gong practitioner Prof. Kunlun Zhang in appealing the judgment of Madam Justice Tremblay Lamer of the Federal Court who upheld the decision of the Acting Attorney General Anne McLellan not to allow Zhang to prosecute privately his torturers in China.


Time: 10:00 a.m. (CDT)
Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Place: Federal Court of Canada, 4th floor, 363 Broadway, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Contact: David Matas (204) 944-1831, Maria Cheung (204) 294-9391

Professor Kunlun Zhang was a Canadian Citizen when he was illegally arrested, tortured, and sentenced to a three year labour camp in China without trial for practicing Falun Gong in China in year 2000. He was released and returned to Canada on January 16, 2001 after a nation-wide campaign by Canadian people, NGOs and media.

In March 2004, Prof. Zhang sought consent from the Attorney General for a private criminal prosecution against his torturers under the Criminal Code section 269.1. This request was refused in March 2005 by the former acting Attorney General the Hon Anne McLellan. A subsequent judicial review in February 2006 was dismissed by Madam Justice Tremblay Lamer of the Federal Court.

In China the judiciary is not able to provide legal redress to Falun Gong practitioners; instead it is an integral instrument in the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong. This case is significant in upholding fundamental justice, rejecting immunity from torture, and restraining future atrocities in the persecution of Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience in China.

Background

Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and meditation. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Introduced to the public 1992, Falun Gong was welcomed in China and drew people from all walks of life. Jealous of it popularity, the Communist Regime started a brutal systematic campaign to eradicate the practice and persecute the practitioners in July 1999. By now, Falun Info Cente reported over three thousand innocent practitioners have been tortured to death.

Hon. David Kilgour and David Matas released a report that confirmed large scale of organ harvest of Falun Gong practitioners is happening in China as a “new form of evil on this planet”. While “torture is systematic and widespread,” UN Special Rapporteur on torture Mr.Nowak reaffirmed that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody. The US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released last month indicated that “Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation-through-labor camps, while the real number could be even higher.”

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