A lawyer is fighting the extradition of a murder suspect to China.

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A lawyer for a man resisting extradition to China on murder charges says his destiny should not be decided by politicians.

Tony Ellis

Tony Ellis (pictured) is the lawyer for murder-accused Kyung Yup Kim (file picture). Photo: RNZ/Tom Furley

Kyung Yup Kim is accused of murdering a woman in China in 2009 and the Chinese government called for his extradition in 2011.

In a decision issued yesterday, the Supreme Court determined that the government can hand over Kim if it receives additional guarantees from Chinese authorities that he would be given a fair trial and would not be tortured.

The Attorney-appeal General’s against an earlier verdict quashing the previous justice minister’s order to deport Kim was deferred yesterday. According to the judgement, former Justice Minister Andrew Little could not sign off on the deportation unless he was certain that Kim would not be mistreated in China and would get a fair trial.

Kim had made a cross appeal that in light of the human rights situation in China, saying “no reasonable Minister” could make the decision to extradite him – but that has been dismissed.

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Kim’s lawyer, Tony Ellis, said the Law Commission had previously recommended extradition decisions be made by judges, not politicians.

This would mean decisions could be made without being influenced by political considerations.

“But the government has chosen not to do that, maybe because it prefers to have control over the decision, because things like foreign trade with China are economically of great value to New Zealand,” Ellis said.

He was disappointed the government had chosen to ignore this advice and plans to take Kim’s case to the United Nations human rights committee.


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