Justice Ministry: Birchall takes note of situation of Romanian imprisoned in China, contacts Foreign Affairs Ministry

The Justice Ministry announced on Thursday that Minister Ana Birchall took note of the situation of the Romanian citizen in detention in China and contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a joint legal and diplomatic action. "The Minister of Justice has taken note of the situation of Mr. Marius Balo, the Romanian serving an imprisonment sentence in the People's Republic of China, following a recent letter from his legal representatives. As soon as the case was reported to the Minister of Justice, Mrs. Ana Birchall contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for managing Romania's legal and diplomatic efforts in this case," a Justice Ministry release reads. According to the cited source, the Justice Ministry makes every effort to obtain all the legal elements that will allow the judicial phase of the transfer of the Romanian citizen to take place, in the context of international judicial cooperation. "The Justice Ministry assures the legal representatives of the Romanian citizen that they will continue to take all necessary legal steps, so that the situation of Mr. Marius Balo be resolved as soon as possible, with full respect of his rights," the release reads. Marius Balo, a professor at Renmin University Beijing and a foreign expert at the Beijing XinDongFang (New Oriental) Technology and Education Group, settled in China in 2010 and was arrested on March 28, 2014 for an alleged contractual fraud, being accused of having received 80 dollars from Chinese citizens, without knowing that the sum came from committing crimes, his lawyers say. According to the lawyers, he was sentenced on March 24, 2016 to eight years in prison, on the testimony of a person he had never seen and subsequently incarcerated in the Shanghai High Security Penitentiary. In the same situation there was also a British citizen but who was released following the intervention of the British Embassy, Balo's defenders say. According to them, inquiries were addressed to the Justice Ministry and the President Klaus Iohannis, but without a response. At present, Marius Balo's lawyers and family are again calling on the Romanian authorities to provide his family with current information about the status of Marius Balo's request for transfer to Romania and speed up this procedure, considering that it is the duty of the Romanian state to defend the human rights for each of its citizens and to assist them in their relations with third countries. AGERPRES (RO - author: George Onea, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - author: Bogdan Gabaroi, editor: Simona Iacob)

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