Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou will be back in a Canadian courtroom two months from now – when hearings on the U.S. request for her extradition are set to begin in earnest. That’s what was decided by a Canadian judge Wednesday – as Meng was accompanied by her defense team in a Vancouver courtroom.
CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.
Meng left her Vancouver home this morning, accompanied as always by a security detail that, as part of her bail arrangement, has kept close tabs on her for the past three months.
Meng was arrested at Vancouver airport on Dec. 1 on a U.S. warrant accusing her and Huawei of conspiring to violate trade sanctions against Iran.
Last week, as Canada said it planned to move forward with extradition proceedings, Meng filed suit against Canadian authorities claiming her arrest was illegal.
One legal expert believes her suit could complicate her extradition, by adding new evidence for a judge to consider.
“The civil suit gives access to all kinds of discovery and disclosure which you don’t get in an extradition hearing,” Gary Botting, an attorney said.
During Wednesday’s brief, 20-minute court hearing, defense attorneys called this a rare case featuring “serious legal, factual concerns not common in jurisprudence.”
They argued her arrest was politically motivated, citing U.S. President Trump’s comments about potentially intervening in the case if it could benefit U.S.-China trade dealings.
The defense team said it would take time to prepare to fight her extradition.
“The point of scheduling normally would be to allow lawyers on both sides to exchange information, messages and documents, discreetly,” Attorney Richard Kurland said.
“That likely may have happened. In addition we’re at the embryonic stage of this multi-year litigation that certainly will be appealed to the highest level, given the resources of the person concerned.”
While Meng alleges she was mistreated by Canada, others are saying two Canadians arrested for spying in China are now paying the price for her arrest, though China denies there is any connection.
“We’re not worried at all about the rights of Mrs. Meng”, Louis Huang, a human rights advocate said. “Her rights can be fully protected and respected in our legal system. But we’re really concerned about these two Canadians.”
There are predictions Meng’s extradition case could drag on for years. One legal expert said it’s Huawei that should bear the brunt of U.S. ire, not Meng as an individual.
“It can be resolved so easily by the United States just simply taking a pen in the Eastern District of New York and crossing out Ms. Meng’s name from the indictment.” Botting said.
“This is a corporate issue. This is not Ms. Meng personally that should be in the hot seat.”
But Meng remains the focus of U.S. and Canadian attention.
The judge set her next hearing for May 8th. That’s when her road to extradition could become a little more clear.