Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to face extradition hearing

BBC

21st January, 2020 12:12:55 printer

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to face extradition hearing

The formal extradition hearings for a Chinese Huawei executive who was arrested in Canada more than a year ago are to begin on Monday.

Meng Wanzhou was held in late 2018 in Canada on suspicion of fraud and breaching US sanctions on Iran.

The US wants Meng to stand trial on charges including fraud linked to the alleged violation of sanctions on Iran.

The case is being watched for its possible repercussions for ties between China, the US and Canada.

This week's hearings will run from 20-24 January in the British Columbia supreme court in Vancouver and will focus on the next step in the extradition process, known as a motion of double criminality.

This means the court hears arguments related to whether the crime Meng is accused of by the US would also be considered a crime in Canada.

The judge must be satisfied that it meets the key test of double criminality before agreeing to extradition.

The 47-year-old executive's lawyers are expected to argue that she cannot be turned over to the US because the charges against her fail to meet that standard.

Lawyers for the Canadian department of justice will argue her offence is a crime in both countries, meaning she can be extradited.

How does the extradition process work?

If a judge is satisfied with the evidence presented during the extradition hearing, he or she will authorise that the individual be committed for extradition.

If not, the accused will be discharged and released from custody.

Even if the judge recommends extradition, it is the federal justice minister who makes the ultimate decision on whether to surrender the person to the US.

Still, it is highly likely this overall process could be a lengthy one. Meng does have avenues to appeal throughout the process.

What is the background?

Meng is the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei.

Meng, who denies the accusations against her, has been out on bail but under house arrest in Vancouver, where she owns property, since shortly after she was detained in December 2018.

Her arrest caused a significant rift between Canada and China.

China detained two Canadian nationals - Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman - shortly after her arrest and has accused the pair of espionage.

The move by Beijing is widely viewed as "hostage diplomacy" - a tactic to put pressure on Canada to release the Huawei executive. Their detention has been called "arbitrary" by Canada and its allies.

Meng's arrest also led to a trade row between Canada and China, with China blocking tens of millions of dollars of canola exports.

China has urged Canada to release Meng, suggesting the case is political persecution by the US.

Washington has been lobbying its allies - including the UK - to not use Huawei's 5G technology services in critical communications infrastructure, alleging it could be a security threat.


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