Lawyers acting on behalf of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou have laid out claims alleging abuse of process by the United States, the FBI, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP in connection with her extradition case.
They argue that the extradition proceedings against the executive should be stayed. And U.S. President Donald Trump’s own words are cited as evidence of that alleged abuse.
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The allegations are laid out in an “unusual” release of hundreds of pages’ worth of court documents and video ahead of Meng facing an extradition hearing.
In a “Memorandum of Fact and Law” that was included in the release, lawyers alleged that the abuse is twofold.
They alleged that the U.S. has abused the extradition process after “attempting to use these extradition proceedings for economic and political gain, as evidenced by the statements of the president of the United States.”
The documents alleged that the pre-arrest conduct of both the United States and Trump specifically was “threatening in nature, corrosive of the rule of law, and abusive of the processes of the Extradition Act and the Charter.”
They specifically cited remarks that Trump made to Reuters on Dec. 11, 2018, when he was asked whether he would intervene in the case personally:
“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.”
The second part of the abuse allegations concerns actions by CBSA, the RCMP and American authorities including the FBI.
Meng’s lawyers alleged that these authorities “carried out a plan to unlawfully detain, search and interrogate her on Dec. 1, 2018.”
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They claimed that those authorities engaged in a “‘covert criminal investigation’ under the guise of a routine examination” under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Customs Act.
Meng’s lawyers alleged that the authorities delayed the executive’s arrest by defying a court order, deceiving her about the nature of the detention in order to “avoid the constraints of the Charter,” and “abusing compulsion/search powers granted to CBSA officers for the purpose of collecting evidence for the FBI.”
Meng and her lawyers asked the court to disclose documents related to these allegations.
Ultimately, her legal team said that if abuse of process allegations are established, then that would result in a stay of her extradition proceedings.
Meng’s detention was set in motion on Nov. 30, 2018, when RCMP Const. Winston Yep swore an affidavit in support of an application for an arrest warrant, the documents alleged.
Justice Fleming issued the warrant that day, ordering “all peace officers having jurisdiction in Canada… to immediately arrest Wanzhou Meng.”
Sometime between that day and the following one, authorities in both Canada and the U.S. came up with a strategy whereby the RCMP would “intentionally delay” Meng’s arrest so that CBSA officers could detain her for what looked like a “routine immigration check.”
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By doing this, the CBSA could exercise inspection powers that would allow them to obtain evidence they could pass along to the FBI and other authorities, Meng’s lawyers said.
Meng arrived at YVR at 11:15 a.m. She was then detained by three CBSA officers as two Mounties stood and watched.
The Huawei executive wasn’t actually arrested, nor was she informed why she was being held, the documents said.
This, said her lawyers contravened s. 10(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which gives everyone the right to be informed of the reasons for a detention.
Meng was subsequently held for three hours — which violates Charter s. 9, guaranteeing everyone the right “not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned,” her lawyers alleged.
Nor was she advised of her right to counsel — also a right protected under the Charter, they said.
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The documents alleged further Charter violations following the seizure of Meng’s electronic devices.
The executive was eventually handed to the RCMP at 2:15 p.m., and only then was the arrest warrant executed, the documents alleged.
Only at that time was she advised of why she was being arrested and her right to counsel, they added.
Meng’s lawyers also alleged that President Trump has “explicitly threatened to interfere in this matter.”
Citing the Reuters quote, her lawyers said that Meng is being used as a “bargaining chip in an ongoing trade dispute between China and the U.S.”
Those remarks, they said, came in the context of what they called a “targeting of Huawei and its executives,” which they say followed a “recommendation in 2017 that the U.S. government begin issuing indictments to advance its interests in its broader geopolitical struggle with China.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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