Canadian Extradition Hearing for Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou Enters Second Day

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Max Wang protests Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou's court appearance at British Columbia Supreme Court, in Vancouver on March 6, 2019. Meng's arrest in Vancouver in December on a US warrant infuriated China, which arrested several Canadians days later in what was widely seen as retaliation. (Image: DON MACKINNON/AFP via Getty Images)

After over two-and-a-half years following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou at a Canadian airport in the province of British Columbia for alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, lawyers for the Government of Canada have entered the second day of court proceedings to determine whether or not the Huawei executive is to be extradited to the United States to face her accusers. 

On August 12, Canadian courts convened for a second day to determine the fate of Meng Wanzhou who has been under house arrest in one of her homes in the British Columbian interior since her arrest on December 1,  2018. 

Meng is the Chief Financial Officer for Chinese telecom giant Huawei and the daughter of the company’s founder. 

She was detained in 2018 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)  at the request of the United States while transferring planes at the Vancouver International Airport en route to Mexico from Hong Kong.

“Meng is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei’s control of another company during a 2013 presentation, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions in Iran.” The Epoch Times reported. Meng’s legal team has consistently denied any wrongdoing by their client. 

On January 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice formally levied financial fraud charges against Meng. Approximately a year later, on January 20, 2020 extradition hearings began ending months later on May 27, 2020 when the British Columbia court ordered her extradition to proceed. Appeals and allegations of unlawful search and seizure and unlawful detention have dragged out the court proceedings. 

Today, lawyers for Canada’s attorney general, who are representing the United States in the case, are attempting to convince the Canadian judiciary that American prosecutors have enough evidence to support a case against her. 

Canadian lawyers are expected to argue that an international bank risked losses due to alleged lies told by the embattled CFO. 

Hostage diplomacy

Her arrest is being blamed for souring China-Canada relations to the point where Chinese authorities arbitrarily detained Canadian expats in China on trumped up espionage charges that have been widely panned as baseless, particularly the arrests of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovirg. 

Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Wednesday August 11 by a court in Dandong China for illegally providing state secrets to other countries. In addition he had his personal property confiscated and was fined 50,000 yuan (US$7,715). 

Spavor’s arrest by Chinese authorities in 2018 came just days after Meng’s arrest in Canada leading many to conclude that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was engaging in hostage diplomacy tactics.

The court also ordered that Spavor be deported, however it was not clear when this would occur. There is a possibility that Spavor could be deported back to Canada prior to his sentence being completely served.

Many speculate that the outcome of Meng’s trial will determine whether or not Spavor is deported prior to his sentence ending. 

On August 11, the Global Times, a state-run media organization in China, published an article praising the Chinese court’s decision calling it “a clear show of China’s resolve and determination to safeguard its independent judicial system and national interests despite baseless attacks and mounting pressure from the West.”

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, blasted the verdict as “absolutely unacceptable and unjust” adding that, “The verdict for Mr Spavor comes after more than two-and-a-half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process, and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law.”