Swedish Li Zhihui released from custody after two years

The Warsaw court has recently ruled that 53-year-old Swedish Li Zhihui should not be extradited to China, where he risked the death penalty and has released him from custody after being detained for the past two years.

Li Zhihui was arrested during a stopover at Warsaw airport in 2019 after China had issued an international search warrant for him through Interpol. Following the arrest, the Swedish Foreign Ministry wrote in a letter to its Polish counterpart, “There is a great risk that our citizen, after being handed over to the Chinese side, may be sentenced to death.”

In a recent statement, the Ministry confirms the release and states, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can confirm that a Swedish citizen who has been detained in Poland since March 2019 was released on 4 March. The court in Poland has on March 4 decided not to extradite the man to China.”

Polish journalist Bartosz Żurawicz who followed the case says to Swedish daily Expressen, that Interpol’s call will no longer apply in Poland and currently Li Zhihui is an apartment in Warsaw.

The Swedish journalist Kurdo Baksi has contact with Li Zhihui’s family and says that he is glad that the Polish court finally understood that just because the Communist Party wants someone extradited to China, they will not do so. The Swedish Foreign Ministry must now “implement guarantees” for Li Zhihui’s security and provide a direct flight for him straight back to Sweden, Kurdo Baksi says.

Formally Li Zhihui is suspected of economic crimes in China. In 2016, he received Swedish citizenship and has been active in the Falungong movement, which is banned in China.

Previously, Li Zhihui’s lawyer Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki told Expressen that the strangest thing is that the accusations only appeared after Mr. Li became active in issues related to Falungong.

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