Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has outlined the next steps in Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou‘s possible extradition to the United States, starting with the U.S. filing a full extradition request and possibly ending with the minister herself having to make the final decision.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver International Airport. U.S. authorities want her to face charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.
The 46-year-old tech exec was released on a $10-million bail Tuesday night and must stay in Vancouver under a number of conditions that include wearing an ankle bracelet and surrendering her passports.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Wilson-Raybould said she wanted to “clarify” Canada’s extradition process and reiterate Meng’s rights to legal recourse.
“It is internationally understood and accepted that people who are alleged to have committed crimes in another country should be surrendered to that country to address the charges,” the statement read.
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According to the Department of Justice, an individual can be extradited if the alleged criminal activity in question is recognized as criminal in both countries.
Foreign countries can either provide Canada with a formal extradition request along with supporting documents and evidence, or request the provisional arrest of the person in question.
The latter option, permitted “where urgency has been established,” was taken in the case of the Huawei executive, Wilson-Raybould pointed out, adding that the decision to seek an arrest warrant was made “without any political interference or direction.”
The Vancouver Granville MP outlined the next steps as follows:
Under the terms of the extradition treaty, the United States has 60 days from the date of Ms. Meng’s arrest to make a full extradition request.
Department of Justice officials have a further 30 days to determine whether to issue an Authority to Proceed which will formally commence the extradition process.
Should an Authority to Proceed be issued, an extradition hearing will be scheduled by the British Columbia Supreme Court.
If the B.C. Supreme Court approves Meng’s extradition, Wilson-Raybould will then have to make the final decision on whether Meng will be surrendered to U.S. authorities.
“At each stage of the extradition process in Canada, there is careful balancing of the interests of the person sought for extradition against Canada’s international obligations,” Wilson-Raybould said. “The person sought is able to challenge their extradition at multiple levels, both before the superior and appellate courts in Canada, and by making submissions to me on the issue of surrender.”
The minister added that she cannot make any comment on the facts of the case in order to protect the independence of the Canadian courts and extradition process.
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Wilson-Raybould’s responsibility could leave Canada between a rock and a hard place as it finds itself in an uncomfortable spot between two economic superpowers.
While Canada maintains that the rule of law is separate from politics, U.S. President Donald Trump openly stated Tuesday that he’d “certainly intervene” in Meng’s case in the interest of U.S.-China trade.
China’s state-run media was already ridiculing Canada’s assertion that Meng would be dealt with fairly and transparently by an independent judiciary.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to the rule of law again on Wednesday, “regardless of what goes on in other countries.”
Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland also addressed the issue on Wednesday, telling reporters that authorities must “ensure that any extradition request is about seeing that justice is done” and not about “political interference.”
— With files from the Canadian Press