Stop court inquiry into Tibet crackdown: China

7th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

China is urging Spain to drop its probe into a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet against Chinese rule in 2008.

Madrid – China has asked Madrid to take steps to ensure that a Spanish court drops its probe into a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet against Chinese rule in March 2008, a court document showed Monday.

In a document sent by Chinese authorities to the National Court which was released Monday, Beijing officials turned down a request by a judge to question eight Chinese leaders, including Defence Minister Liang Guanglie, as part of the probe.

In the document, the Chinese authorities called on the Spanish government to take "immediate and effective steps to prevent any abusive use of a mutual justice cooperation agreement and close as soon as possible this inquiry".

A Tibetan rights group, the Tibet Support Committee, filed the suit against the Chinese leaders in July 2008, calling the crackdown on the unrest "crimes against humanity".

It was accepted by the National Court the following month, just days before the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

Unrest in Tibet erupted on 14 March 2008 after four days of peaceful protests against Chinese rule.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in China's crackdown. Beijing insists that only one Tibetan was killed and has in turn accused the "rioters" of killing 21 people.

The crackdown sparked international protests that dogged the month-long global journey of the Olympic torch in April.

Since 2005, Spain has operated under the principle of "universal jurisdiction", a doctrine that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, terrorism or war crimes.

Last week the National Court closed a probe targeting Israeli officials for alleged crimes against humanity over a deadly 2002 air raid in Gaza that was accepted under this principle. The court said it was following the recommendations of prosecutors in deciding to close the case.

AFP / Expatica

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