Meng Wanzhou: Huawei executive suffers US extradition blow
A Canadian court has ruled that the case of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou, who is fighting extradition to the United States, can go on.
A judge found that the case meets the double crime threshold, which means that the charges would be crimes in both the United States and Canada.
The United States wants Ms. Meng to be tried on charges related to the alleged violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
His case created a rift between China and Canada.
His defense attorney, Richard Peck, claimed in court that Canada is actually being asked to “apply US sanctions”.
But associate associate judge Heather Holmes told the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday that the crimes she is accused of in the United States would also be crimes in Canada in 2018.
“Ms. Meng’s approach … would seriously limit Canada’s ability to fulfill its international obligations in the context of extradition for fraud and other economic crimes,” he added.
The United States has accused her of fraud for alleged relations of a Huawei-owned company with Iran.
Relations between the United States and China have already been strained by trade disputes and the future of Hong Kong.
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Following Wednesday’s ruling, Reid Weingarten, a US lawyer for Ms. Meng, said that her client “should not be a pedestrian or hostage” in China-US relations.
“Today’s ruling in Canada is only the initial salvation in a very long process … we are confident that justice will eventually be done,” he added.
China has repeatedly called for Ms. Meng’s release, and on Tuesday Beijing reiterated these appeals and warned of a possible further diplomatic rift with Canada.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Canada “should immediately correct her mistake, release Ms. Meng and ensure her safe return to China at an early stage so as to avoid any ongoing damage to China-Canada relations. “.
China is believed to have arrested two Canadians – Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman – in retaliation for the arrest of Ms. Meng. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls their continued detention “arbitrary”.
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Wednesday after the ruling, Kovrig’s former employer called on China to release him.
“The ruling did not concern our colleague Michael Kovrig and should not be relevant to his case,” tweeted Robert Malley, president and CEO of International Crisis Group.
“He shouldn’t be kept as a pedestrian.”
Attorney Nick Vamos, a former head of extradition to the crown prosecutor’s office in the United Kingdom, told the BBC that Ms. Meng’s case was being followed closely because of the “geopolitics” involved.
What is the background?
Meng is the financial manager of Huawei and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei.
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She was released on bail but under house arrest in Vancouver, where she owns property, shortly after being detained in December 2018.
Not long after his arrest, China arrested two Canadian citizens – Kovrig and Spavor – and accused the spying couple.
Beijing’s move is widely considered a “hostage diplomacy”, a tactic to put pressure on Canada to release the Huawei executive.
The arrest of Ms. Meng also led to a commercial trail between Canada and China.
China says the case is political persecution by the United States.
Washington has lobbied its allies, including the United Kingdom, not to use Huawei’s 5G technology services in critical communications infrastructures, arguing that it could be a security threat.
What’s the next case?
A second hearing, centered on allegations of trial abuse and the fact that Canadian officials followed the law during Ms. Meng’s arrest, is currently scheduled for next month.
Although a Canadian court eventually recommends extradition, it is the federal justice minister who makes the final decision.
It is very likely that the overall process could be long. Ms. Meng has ways to appeal throughout the trial and some cases of extradition have dragged on for years.