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Philippine trial of Chinese fishermen stalls without interpreter

Published on Jun 17, 2014 10:41 PM
 
Arrested Chinese fishermen sit waiting for their arraignment at a court in Puerto Princesa in Palawan island on May 21, 2014. A Philippine case against nine Chinese fishermen caught with endangered turtles at a disputed reef was held up on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 due to the lack of an interpreter, which a prosecutor blamed on pressure from China. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MANILA (Reuters) - A Philippine case against nine Chinese fishermen caught with endangered turtles at a disputed reef was held up on Tuesday due to the lack of an interpreter, which a prosecutor blamed on pressure from China.

The Chinese fishermen's pre-trial hearing has been postponed twice and a planned session on Wednesday may also be called off unless an interpreter is found. "We can't find a competent interpreter for the Chinese fishermen," a member of the prosecution team, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Manila says the fishermen were within the Philippines' 322km exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea with hundreds of marine turtles, in violation of a United Nations convention on trading the endangered wildlife species.

China has demanded the release of the fishermen, saying the arrest was illegal because they were caught in China's waters. It has also denied blocking the hire of an interpreter.

 
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