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Haavisto: Extradition treaty with Hong Kong should no longer be applied

Haavisto says the pact was signed in very different times, when extradition to mainland China was not possible.

Kuvassa on Pekka Haavisto Brysselissä.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels on 13 July. Image: Virginia Mayo / EPA

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says that Finland's extradition treaty with Hong Kong should no longer be applied since suspects could be handed over to mainland China under tough new security laws.

"The situation has changed from the time when the treaty was signed. It should not be applied," Haavisto told reporters in a teleconference after a meeting of European Union foreign ministers. That was their first in-person conference in four months, and focused on relations with China and Turkey among other issues.

Haavisto told Finnish reporters that the treaty was signed under very different circumstances, where there was no possibility of people being extradited to mainland China.

Concern over closed trials and capital punishment

"Extradition could involve trials behind closed doors or in the worse case, the threat of capital punishment, if an individual is transferred to mainland China. These are issues that Finnish officials will absolutely take into account in this new situation. My own view is that this kind of treaty cannot really be applied in this kind of new situation," Haavisto said. The death penalty has been abolished in all EU member states.

The Hong Kong national security law took effect on 30 June. Under its provisions, a new Beijing-controlled security office in Hong Kong will be able to send cases to be tried in mainland China.

Haavisto noted that the treaty falls under the jurisdiction of Finland's Ministry of Justice.

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson "can thus respond as to what would be needed to formally freeze or withdraw from the treaty," Haavisto said.

The foreign minister said no-one has ever been extradited to Hong Kong under the pact.

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