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Kenyan authorities must not deport five Taiwanese nationals to China, where they face a real risk of human rights violations, said Amnesty International today.

A judge in Nairobi acquitted five men today of internet fraud. In her ruling, the judge ordered that the five, who hold Taiwanese passports, be returned to Taiwan.

However, 45 other Taiwanese nationals involved in the same case were draped in black hoods and deported to China upon their acquittal in April, despite expressing fears of human rights violations. They are currently undergoing a second trial in China.

Wu Kun-ta, Chang Tsen, Hsieh Chih-huang, Huang Sin-bao, and Wang Chun-chih, were arrested with 45 others in December 2014, and accused of defrauding internet users in China. A large Chinese security contingent was present in court today, ready to collect the accused in the event of acquittal.

“The five have been acquitted, so they must be immediately released and allowed their wish to return to Taiwan,” said Victor Odero, Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner.

“If deported to China, they could face serious violations of their fair trial rights. There is no doubt Kenya cherishes its relationship with China, but by no means should it sacrifice these individuals’ rights for political expediency, the due process of the law must be respected” said Odero.

“The right thing to do is to release them and ensure their safe return to Taiwan.”