Meng faces Canadian court

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/9 22:23:41

China calls hearing a ‘serious political event’

Huawei's chief financial officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou. Photo: VCG

China urged on Thursday the US and Canada to release Huawei's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou, following her hearing in Vancouver, calling it a serious political event. 

The political nature in Meng's lawsuit has also become one of the major arguments mentioned by her lawyers while seeking a stay of proceedings in extradition case on Wednesday.

Meng made an appearance at a court hearing on Wednesday at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her lawyers made three new and major disclosures to the court, including rebuking key allegations in the criminal case against the CFO, complaining repeated violations of her legal rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and revealing that her illegal detention violated Canada's extradition law. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated its position on this matter. "The abuse of extradition treaty between the US and Canada is a serious political event that violates the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and the Chinese side urges the US to immediately revoke the arrest warrant and extradition request and asks Canada to immediately release Meng," Geng Shuang, spokesperson of foreign ministry, told a press conference on Thursday. 

The high-profile businesswoman was arrested in Canada in December 2018 at the request of the US, which has led to marked deterioration of China-Canada relations on all fronts, ever since.

She now faces banking fraud charges as the US administration accused her of lying to banks about Huawei's relations with Skycom, which the US side deemed breaking US government sanctions against Iran. However, Huawei repeatedly denied any wrongdoings. 

"The criminal case against Meng is based on allegations that are simply not true.  To the contrary, it was made clear in court today that business activities by Meng were conducted openly and transparently with full knowledge of banking officials," Huawei said in a statement sent to the Global Times Thursday morning.

In March, Meng filed a lawsuit accusing Canadian authorities of violating her legal rights when they detained her at the request of the US at the airport, and her lawyers narrated these violations at Wednesday's court hearing. 

In addition, the arrest of Meng violated a core principle of the extradition law and treaty between Canada and the US, double criminality requirement, Huawei said. 

Her attorneys are also fighting Meng's extradition by citing US President Donald Trump's comments made concerning the case, which reveals explicit political intervention. Trump said that he could intervene and set Meng free if the move benefits US trade talks with China. 

She was told by the judge to return to the court in September this year, with arguments and questions put together for full disclosure. 

While Meng continues to fight her extradition to the US in Canada by arguing the case is political in nature, the Chinese company has demonstrated rising confidence that it is well prepared and well positioned for a long legal battle, analysts said. 

Meanwhile, some lawyers who talked with the Global Times suggested that there are some arguments that, if proven, would be adequate to end the legal proceedings. 

"If by then it is obvious that the Charter has been breached, there may be a preliminary application to stay the proceedings because of abuse of process, possibly including an allegation of interference from the President of the US," Gary Botting, a veteran extradition and criminal defense lawyer in Canada, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

"If that application is successful, the extradition is bound to fail, and Meng would be discharged," he said. 

Huawei said it trusts in the Canadian judicial process and has confidence in Meng's innocence. Some Chinese analysts urged Canada to look into the nature of this lawsuit. 

"Although going through legal procedures is important, the nature of this case is all about politics. The arrest of Meng is part of a scheme by US politicians to curb China's high-tech rise," Fang Xingdong, founder of Beijing-based technology think tank ChinaLabs, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Fang said that Canada should carefully consider the outcome of the legal tussle involving Meng. 

Still, more information are needed to evaluate those arguments that Huawei mentioned, while Meng's team said they would apply for additional disclosure for the case, like information about her arrest at the airport, according to media reports. 

"The facts surrounding how Meng was detained and arrested were scarce. So, it is very difficult to assess whether Meng's Charter rights were violated," Jake Shen, Canada-based criminal defense lawyer, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Even if her Charter rights were violated, the next question is whether the violations are egregious enough to stay the proceeding, the lawyer said. 

Posted in: SOCIETY

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