Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Huawei Extradition Case Begins, Widening China-Canada Rift

Canada announces extradition hearing against Huawei executive can go ahead Meng Wanzhou: Huawei chief executive can be extradited, Canada says
Leonard Rios | 03 March, 2019, 07:13

Meng is due in B.C. Supreme Court next Wednesday to set a date for the extradition hearing.

"The Chinese side is utterly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes the issuance of (the) authority to proceed", the embassy in Ottawa said in a statement.

Following the decision to proceed with extradition, Meng's lawyers told The Verge that Meng "maintains that she is innocent of any wrongdoing", and that "the USA prosecution and extradition constitutes an abuse of the process of law".

In January, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed a 13-count indictment against Huawei, two affiliates and Meng, alleging bank and wire fraud. She was charged with selling HP equipment to Iran on behalf of Hong Kong company Skycom from 2009 to 2014 when such trade was strictly prohibited by United States sanctions.

China has viewed the case of Meng as political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise in the form of disguised legal proceedings.

"I have little doubt that they probably will but it would be very foolish", he said, adding that an approval would "invite a whole pile of grief" for Canada and possible economic retaliation from China.

Trudeau sacked his ambassador to China for undermining that position by saying that Meng had a "strong" case against extradition and later adding that it would be "great for Canada" if the United States dropped the case.

The U.S. and China have tried to keep Meng's case separate from their wider trade dispute, but President Donald Trump has undercut that.

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Trump has since reiterated his willingness to intervene in a judicial process that Canada has made pains to characterize as independent.

However, it seems a little bit weird when the Canadian Justice Department stated the hearing "is neither a trial nor does it render a verdict of guilt or innocence".

"The United States is a country with which we share a legal culture" and which Canada trusts, said Harrington, an global human rights law specialist.

In a statement today, Canada's justice department confirmed it has issued an "authority to proceed".

Canada announced on Friday that it would launch proceedings to extradite Meng, the high-profile daughter of Huawei's owner Ren Zhengfei, raising concerns in Beijing, which has been very vocal in protesting her arrest since December past year. If Meng is extradited, she will face a trial in the United States.

Lu described the episode as "a severe political incident". Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, on allegations of engaging in activities that have endangered China's national security.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted on a strict hands-off approach to the issue, with his justice department stressing on Friday that "Canada is a country governed by the rule of law".

"Under the Extradition Act and the Treaty, Canada must review the alleged conduct and determine whether it could have resulted in a jail sentence of 1 year of more if it had taken place in Canada". Huawei maintains that they are two independent companies.

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