Canadian judge unusually questions validity of US' claim for extradition of Huawei's Meng Wanzhou as legal battle enters final stage
Published: Aug 13, 2021 05:31 PM
Photo: courtesy of Huawei

Meng Wanzhou. Photo: courtesy of Huawei

As the case of Huawei's Meng Wanzhou enters its final stage after two years of legal wrangling, a Canadian judge on Thursday appeared skeptical of the arguments made by prosecutors, questioning the validity of the case by the US against Meng, a court hearing note acquired by the Global Times showed.

"Isn't it unusual that one would see a fraud case with no actual harm, many years later, and one in which the alleged victim - a large institution - appears to have numerous people within the institution who had all the facts that are now said to have been misrepresented?" Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes asked, per the note.

"I simply suggest it's unusual to have both of those features - no actual loss and fairly extensive knowledge of the true state of affairs," said Holmes.

The judge also asked the prosecution to clarify some areas as there are many suspicious points between the prosecution's statement and documents submitted by the US to request extradition. In addition, the judge asked the prosecution to provide more legal basis for the relevant cases it cited.

Observers told the Global Times that it's "unusual" for the judge to raise such a question at this point for such a high-profile case that's been widely considered as a "political trap" set by the US, raising hopes that it could be a possible turning point for the case.

Meng's case has been mired in controversy. She was arrested in Canada in 2018 on a US warrant, and the case has been politicized even by former US president Donald Trump. Meng's rights were violated during her arrest, and the US has misled evidence and brazenly broken customary international law, said legal experts and case followers.

The high-profile case has also damaged China-Canada relations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly called the case a political maneuver, and urged Canada to release Meng.

Some warned that Canada may still choose to please the US rather than follow the rule of law.

"I think the judge is still on course to commit her for extradition," Gary Botting, a Canadian legal expert and author of several books on extradition, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The stairway to extradition in the case of Meng has been unnecessarily long and convoluted because the Minister of Justice has not had the courage nor political will to intervene and stop the extradition, as he can do at any time under section 23 of the Extradition Act, Botting said.

In effect, the US said "Jump!" and Canada's bureaucrats asked meekly, "How high?" said the expert.