2007-12-23 05:37:51 Xinhua English
BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature on Sunday began deliberating a treaty on judicial cooperation with Portugal on the transfer of convicted persons.
The treaty would allow convicted persons in both nations to serve prison sentences in their own countries closer to their families.
It was submitted to the weeklong 31st session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, for approval.
According to the treaty, signed in Beijing in January, transfer of convicted persons would only be applied to convicted persons of Chinese or Portuguese nationalities. They would need to have at least one year on their sentence remaining at the time of submission of the request of transfer.
The 19-article treaty also stipulated transfer of convicted persons should only be conducted after it was acceded by sentenced prisoners themselves.
"Since the concept of offender transfers serves a very important humanitarian purpose, legal rights of convicted prisoners should be guaranteed," Minister of Justice Wu Aiying said while briefing lawmakers during the session.
Wu said transfer of convicted persons would facilitate prisoners to get helps from their family members and eliminated cultural and communication obstacles for them when serving time in foreign countries.
She added the treaty would further enhance judicial cooperation between the two countries, as well as bilateral cooperation.
Statistics showed that 70 Chinese were imprisoned in Portugal, while a lone Portuguese was serving time in China as of June.
Since 2002, China had signed treaties on transfer of convicted persons with the Ukraine, Russia and Spain.