Attorneys representing Meng Wanzhou, Huawei‘s CFO, have filed a lawsuit with the British Columbia Supreme Court against the Government of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police over her arrest on December 1 at Vancouver’s airport. That request took place at the request of the U.S.
Attorneys say the due protocol wasn’t followed during her arrest and the officials overstepped their authority. They allege that a Canadian official and the Canadian Border Services Agency officers, despite having orders for the immediate arrest of Meng, delayed the process and violated the orders of the court. While pretending to carry out a routine border check, the officials apparently illegally detained and interrogated her to extract evidence before formally arresting here and telling her about her right to counsel.
The lawsuit says that although international travelers can be subjected to routine questioning, Meng’s charter rights were violated as she was being questioned in relation to her arrest. The Canada Border Service Agency agents apparently confiscated her electronic devices, got passwords, and viewed the contents unlawfully while keeping her in the dark about the reason for her detention as they knew they wouldn’t be able to get the information they were looking for if she was arrested immediately. She was finally told about her arrest and her rights after three hours.
Meng is now seeking damages for false imprisonment and misfeasance in public office during her detention at the airport on December 1. She is currently out on bail and the Canadian authorities have started the official proceedings to extradite her from Canada to the U.S. She is due to appear in court on March 6, when a date would be set for the extradition hearing.
Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, and the U.S. government has filed a plethora of charges against the Chinese company. The U.S. prosecutors say that Meng misled banks about Huawei’s dealing which potentially breached Iran trade sanctions. The prosecutors argue that the fraudulent financial scheme can undermine the security of the U.S. Meng has denied all the charges levied against her and China says that the extradition process is politically motivated. Huawei is the second largest smartphone maker in the world and China believes that the arrest is an attempt to hurt the company.
The arrest has soured relations between China and the United States. China has also expressed its dissatisfaction with the proceedings. In an apparent bid to retaliate, the country has detained two Canadian citizens, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor. Both have been denied access to a lawyer.
When asked if the U.S. might drop criminal charges against Huawei, the U.S. President Donald Trump said recently that he will discuss the issue with the attorneys in the coming weeks. So, there is a possibility that the president could intervene and cool down the matter a bit. All in all, we’ll have to wait and see what will happen, but things are getting out of hand, it seems, and they’ll hopefully calm down in the near future.