Falun Gong follower's rights not breached by deportation: court

Strasbourg, France - A follower of the Falun Gong religious group and a failed asylum seeker did not have his human rights breached when Russian authorities deported him to China, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday.

The 74-year-old retired professor, known only as Y, lived in St. Petersburg from April 2003 to May 2007. He had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in Russia on a number of occasions, arguing he would be persecuted if sent back to China.

The Strasbourg-based court rejected Y's case on the ground of a lack of evidence, pointing out his wife had told Russian investigators that he had not been mistreated following his deportation.

The European Convention on Human Rights prohibits the extradition of a person to a foreign state if they are likely to be subjected to torture or face "degrading and inhuman treatment."

Falun Gong, which is loosely based on Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophies, was founded in 1992.

Its popularity grew to include tens of millions of followers in 1999, prompting the government to ban it as an "evil cult".

At the time the government said the group was the biggest threat to China's political stability since the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests.