[JURIST] Canada's Federal Court [official website] Thursday stayed the deportation to China of Lai Changxing [Wikipedia profile], the alleged leader of a Xiamen-based network suspected of smuggling up to $10 billion of goods such as cigarettes, automobiles, heating and cooking oil, textiles, chemicals and other raw materials under the protection of corrupt Chinese government officials. Justice Carolyn Layden-Stevenson [official profile] stayed Lai's deportation because Lai claimed he would be tortured or executed if forced to return to China, despite contrary assurances [Reuters report] from the Chinese government. Eight people have already been executed in connection with the corruption case.
Under Canadian law, officials cannot deport refugees to countries that are known to use torture, although all of Lai's applications for refugee status have been denied [BBC report]. Layden-Stevenson wrote: "[t]he issue of the assurances lie at the heart of the debate ... absent the assurances, the records disclose credible evidence that a serious likelihood of jeopardy to life or safety exists." AP has more. The Globe & Mail has local coverage. From China, The People's Daily has additional coverage of the case.