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Huawei’s Meng back in Canadian court to fight extradition to US

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Oct 26, 2020 - 10:00 AM

VANCOUVER, CANADA — Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou returns to a Canadian court Monday as part of her two-year fight against extradition to the United States, with her lawyers expected to renew objections to the way in which she was detained.

The Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer was arrested on a US warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver.

She is charged with bank fraud related to violations of US sanctions against Iran, and has been fighting extradition ever since.

Five days of hearings are set for this week before British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes.

Meng’s lawyers will seek to convince Holmes that Canadian federal police and border agents violated her rights in questioning her and searching her devices in the three hours after she disembarked from the Hong Kong flight but before her arrest.

And they will say that seizing and turning over the contents of her electronic devices, including her phone and laptop, to the FBI was itself a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Meng “alleges a scheme by members (of) US and Canadian law enforcement to compel evidence from the applicant for the benefit of the (US) in serious violation of her statutory and Charter rights,” according to court filings.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Border Services Agency witnesses are also expected to testify on her behalf.

Arguments of “unlawful detention, search and interrogation” have been raised before as part of a failed bid by the defense to access classified documents and emails between officials.

The defense had hoped to find proof in them of an alleged conspiracy to interrogate Meng and collect evidence to use at her US trial, in violation of her rights.

If proven, the allegations could result in a stay of the extradition proceedings.

Earlier this month, Holmes rejected a defense bid for access to all but one of hundreds of government documents, citing legal privilege.

In August, a separate federal court also refused Meng’s request to access intelligence documents, citing national security and saying they do not bolster her challenge to how her arrest was carried out.

That batch of documents included Canadian Security Intelligence Service situational reports about Meng’s arrest, emails and an agent’s handwritten notes taken in the days following her arrest.

The Canadian government’s senior lawyer, Robert Frater, has denied the claim Meng’s rights were abused.

“The attorney general of Canada doesn’t accept there was any conspiracy to deprive Ms. Meng of her rights,” Frater said in July. “We do not accept there was any violation of Ms. Meng’s rights.”

After this round, another set of hearings is scheduled early next year when the defense is expected to argue that US President Donald Trump “poisoned” her chance at a fair hearing when he said he might exchange Meng for trade concessions from China shortly after her arrest.

The case is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021.

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