Meng Wanzhou. (Photo: Getty images)
Lawyers for an executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei arrested in Canada nearly two years ago at the request of the United States resumed Monday in a Vancouver court their questioning of Canadian police and customs officials involved in her arrest.
During this new series of hearings scheduled to last at least two weeks, Meng Wanzhou’s defense will try to frustrate the current extradition procedure by contesting the conditions of his arrest at Vancouver airport on December 1, 2018.
Ms. Meng, dressed in a black dress with an electronic bracelet appearing on her left ankle, arrived at court mid-morning with her team of lawyers.
The latter resumed the interrogation, suspended at the end of October, of a Canadian customs official who participated in the arrest of their client, Bryce McRae.
Huawei’s chief financial officer was arrested at the request of the United States, which accuses her of circumventing American sanctions against Iran and wants to try her for bank fraud.
This arrest, followed a few days later by the detention in China of two Canadians accused of espionage, caused a serious diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.
In previous hearings at the end of October, the lawyers of the daughter of the founder of Huawei had for the first time made testify a police officer and a customs officer having participated in the arrest of their client.
Ms. Meng had been interrogated for three hours at the airport, and had to give out secret codes to her electronic devices, without knowing the reason for the interrogation. According to his defense, this constitutes a violation of his rights.
Her lawyers suspect the Canadian authorities of “collusion” with the American FBI during this interrogation, during which they allegedly tried to gather information on Ms. Meng.
A Canadian customs officer called to testify admitted at the end of October that he transmitted the passwords of Ms. Meng’s electronic devices to the police after the interrogation, but he claimed to have done so in error.
One of Ms Meng’s attorneys, Richard Peck, revealed early in the hearing that one of the witnesses called by the defense, a now retired Canadian federal police official, had refused to come to bar. According to them, he had emailed the FBI several confidential information of Ms. Meng, such as passwords or SIM card numbers.
“This refusal to testify could have consequences,” he warned.
In early December, a hearing day should be devoted to another subject put forward by the defense in an attempt to derail the extradition process.
This is an interview with US President Donald Trump at the end of 2018, in which he said he would not hesitate to intervene in the proceedings against Ms Meng if it would allow concessions from China to be obtained in the trade negotiations between the two countries.
Mr. Trump’s statements have “poisoned” the proceedings and undermined their client’s chances of a fair trial, his advice said.
The final hearing to determine whether Meng Wanzhou should be extradited is scheduled for April.