Arrested Huawei Executive Sues Canada, Escalating Tensions
The Chief Financial Officer of the Chinese cell phone giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, has filed charges against both the Canadian Government and two of its security agencies. Ms. Meng has alleged that she was illegally held, interrogated, and had her devices taken without being informed of her arrest. The lawsuit comes as the United States has attempted to speed up the extradition of Ms. Meng, where she is facing numerous charges relating to Huawei’s corporate practices.
The incident that sparked Ms. Meng’s lawsuit, as well as increased tensions between Canada, the United States, and China, was the executive’s arrest as she arrived in Vancouver in December of 2018. Canada detained Ms. Meng on behalf of the U.S. Government, who has charged her with assisting the corporation dodging U.S. sanctions on Iran and steal technology from U.S. cell phone companies.
Both Huawei and the Chinese government has insisted that Ms. Meng and the entire corporation are innocent of all charges against them. They have claimed that Huawei is being unfairly targeted by the United States and that Ms. Meng has been used as a hostage of American economic and political interests.
Early last week, the Canadian justice system took an important step in the case against Ms. Meng by setting a date of May 8th for her hearing to determine if she should be extradited. If the United States succeeds in bringing the Huawei executive back, she will face serious consequences, likely resulting in jail time.
The lawsuit by Ms. Meng is widely considered an attempt to delay the process of extradition that the United States seeks to expedite. By bogging her case down in the Canadian court, which could take months to resolve, Ms. Meng ensures she will not be taken into American custody any time soon.
However, the charges filed by Ms. Meng allege serious wrongdoing on the part of the Canadian intelligence services. In the documents she provided to the court, Ms. Meng described that agents engaged in a “deliberate and premeditated effort” to violate her freedoms to get evidence. In addition, she claimed that security officials at the border, despite having a warrant for her arrest, conducted a “random search” in an attempt to illegally seize data relevant to the case.
There has yet to be any official response from either of the two security agencies named in Ms. Meng’s suit, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Security Agency. However, the Canadian Government as a whole will most likely fight to dismiss the charges and work to get Ms. Meng into the hands of the U.S. authorities as quickly as possible, in order to free themselves from being the target of Chinese ire.