United States: Statements Regarding the Appeal Against Granting Jiang Zemin Sovereignty by the Federal Court Judge in Chicago

On September 12, 2003, a Chicago Federal Court Judge decided to grant sovereign immunity to former Chinese president Jiang Zemin in the case filed against him by Falun Gong practitioners. Regarding this, the plaintiff's attorney, Ms. Terri Marsh and representatives of Falun Gong practitioners, held a press conference on September 15, at the National Press Club in Washington DC, stating that they will continue to provide prosecution reasons for appeal.

Plaintiff's attorney Ms. Terri Marsh
Dr. Sen Nieh

Ms. Marsh said, "What is worth noting is that in his ruling, the Judge did not mention any words opposing the convention of genocide, which stipulates that perpetrators of genocide could not enjoy sovereign immunity. He also did not mention opposing the convention against Torture in his ruling, according to the prejudication of the Judge who handled the Pinochet case, perpetrators of torture could also not be immune."

She added, "(Jiang) has deployed various methods to have the case filed against him in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois dismissed, and even threatened that if the case is put on record, it would jeopardise the relations between the two countries."

Ms. Marsh expressed that the case is just beginning. She said the Pinochet case was finally recovered in the appealing court. There are many options for this case to be continued, including appealing.

The judicial proceedings in the US include three-levels of courts, after the verdict of the district court, one can appeal to the upper court, and finally to the supreme court.

Washington Area Falun Gong spokesperson Dr. Nie Sen said, "(to Judge's decision) we are disappointed. We understand the pressure the Judge and the administrative departments of the US faced, and also know their difficulties. But here, we want to say that the lawsuit against Jiang, the important purpose of it is to urge China to stop the suppression on Falun Gong, stop the persecution of human rights and freedom of beliefs. " He also expressed that "We will not give up investigating Jiang's legal responsibility for his bloody persecution via legal means. The effort will not be stopped due to one case at one time in one place. If we don't win today, we will try tomorrow. If we won't win tomorrow, we will try the day after tomorrow, until justice ultimately prevails."

Dr. Nie Sen also mentioned similar cases filed in the US have seen judgements in favour of Falun Gong. For example, former Deputy Chief of Public Security Bureau in Hubei Province Zhao Zhifei, former Minister of Propaganda, one of the persons in charge of "610 Office" Ding Guangen, and Beijing City Secretary Liu Qi and Vice Governor of Liaoning Province Xia Deren. Judges pronounced a guilty verdict to all of them for persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.

It is reported that at present, Falun Gong practitioners in many countries have filed lawsuits against Jiang or are suing Jiang or other high-ranking Chinese officials who participated in the persecution. These countries include Belgium, France, the UK, Australia and Canada.

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