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France signs extradition treaty with China despite death penalty record

[JURIST] France signed an extradition treaty with China [JURIST news archives] Tuesday in Paris over the objections of human rights groups that oppose China's use of the death penalty. After signing the treaty, Justice Minister Pascal Clement [official profile, in French] explained that France may refuse extradition of suspects to China for political or military offenses. If a crime is punishable by death in China, France will only extradite upon guarantees that the death penalty will not be administered. Finally, a judicial authority must approve arrest warrants.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International [advocacy website] have campaigned against the treaty, arguing that China's guarantees are not trustworthy. China has recently limited use of the death penalty, although it has been listed among the countries with the most executions [JURIST reports]. In contrast, France outlawed the death penalty in 1981 and recently amended its Constitution [JURIST report] to make the ban explicit. France joins Spain and Portugal as the third European Union country to sign a extradition treaty with China. BBC News has more.

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