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Canada should ‘demand’ the U.S. drop all charges against Meng Wanzhou: Green Party

Trudeau rejects pressure to do prisoner swap with China
Nineteen high-profile Canadians have penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pleading that he release Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, in hopes it would prompt China to free Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

The Green Party of Canada is calling on the federal government to demand that the United States drop all criminal charges and withdraw its extradition request against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

The remarks were contained in a statement released Wednesday by the Greens and endorsed by the party’s foreign affairs critic, Paul Manly, plus their parliamentary leader, Elizabeth May.

Read more: Huawei still hopes to sell 5G equipment to Canada despite pressure from Five Eyes

“Canada cannot continue to be used as a pawn in a trade dispute between the United States and China,” Manly said.

Manly argues the case against Meng is political in nature and that this was made clear when President Donald Trump suggested he could put an end to criminal proceedings against her in exchange for possible concessions from China in ongoing trade negotiations between the two countries.

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Former Australian Prime Minister says there is a way out of the Canada-China spat over Meng Wanzhou
Former Australian Prime Minister says there is a way out of the Canada-China spat over Meng Wanzhou

Manly also said the U.S. could pursue civil litigation against either Huawei or Meng for alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran, rather than continuing its criminal case.

“The Trump administration abused the extradition treaty (with Canada) for political purposes,” Manly said.

Read more: U.S. could consider Meng Wanzhou case as civil, not criminal: former Australian PM

Meng was arrested by Canadian law enforcement officials in Vancouver in December 2018 at the behest of American authorities, who charged her and her company the following month with multiple counts related to allegedly skirting U.S. sanctions on Iran and stealing corporate secrets. Meng has denied all charges against her and continues to fight the extradition process.

Following Meng’s arrest, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained by Chinese officials in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called an “obvious” attempt to put “political pressure” on Canada.

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“It has been obvious since the beginning this was a political decision by the Chinese government, and we deplore it,” Trudeau said in June.

China detained Kovrig, Spavor in ‘political decision’ over Meng arrest, Trudeau says
China detained Kovrig, Spavor in ‘political decision’ over Meng arrest, Trudeau says

The Greens’ statement says they “respect the rule of law” and the extradition treaties Canada has negotiated with foreign countries, including the U.S., but the party insists the Huawei case is an “abuse” of the legal process and that Canada should be permitted to release Meng.

May also said Kovrig and Spavor — sometimes referred to as the two Michaels — are “innocent victims of Trump’s reckless disregard for Canadian interests.”

“It’s time for the Canadian government to stand up to the U.S. administration and demand that it drop the criminal charges,” May said.

Read more: Intervention to free Meng Wanzhou would make Canada look ‘untrustworthy,’ expert says

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In a written statement Wednesday, a spokesperson for Justice Minister David Lametti said all persons arrested in Canada are afforded due process. The government did not directly address the Greens’ call to demand an end to the U.S. criminal proceedings, adding that it would be inappropriate for the minister to comment further given his role in the extradition process.

“Canada is a rule of law country where extraditions are conducted in conformity with the Extradition Act, international treaties and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Lametti’s spokesperson Rachel Rappaport.

“As we have said from the beginning, Ms. Meng is being afforded due process before the courts — as would any person arrested on Canadian soil. That process is ongoing.”