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B.C. Supreme Court rules Meng Wanzhou extradition case can go forward

Last Updated May 27, 2020 at 4:03 pm PDT

File: Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is escorted by her private security detail while arriving at a parole office, in Vancouver, on Wednesday December 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Meng Wanzhou’s application to get out of the extradition process has been dismissed at B.C. Supreme Court, with the justice ruling against the Huawei executive on the issue of double criminality.

She must now remain in B.C. as the legal battle against her continues, with court dates set through the summer.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December of 2018 at the request of the Americans, who had charged her with fraud over allegations she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Canada didn’t have the same sanctions when the U.S. claims Meng duped financial institutions into doing business with an Iranian subsidiary. So, even though she and Huawei both deny the claims, Meng’s legal team had argued even if she had done what the Americans claim she did, it wouldn’t lead to a trial in this country.

However, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes dismissed the application, finding the requirement for double criminality can be met.

“Under extradition law, an individual may only be extradited to face trial on foreign charges (in this case, the US) where the underlying conduct, had it been committed in Canada, would also amount to a criminal offence in Canada,” a statement from the Department of Justice reads.

It adds another hearing will take place.

While this is a setback in Meng’s bid to avoid extradition, her lawyers still have further options. They plan to argue her rights were violated during her arrest more than a year ago.

Huawei says it is disappointed in the decision by the court, once again saying it believes Canada’s justice system will eventually prove her innocence.

“We have repeatedly expressed confidence in Ms. Meng’s innocence. Huawei continues to stand with Ms. Meng in her pursuit for justice and freedom,” reads a release from the company.

It also says her lawyers will continue to make sure her name is cleared.

One of the big implications of this legal battle is the fate of two Canadians still in custody in China. The detentions of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have widely been seen as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruling foreshadows the “worst-ever” China-Canada ties, Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Chinese state-owned newspaper Global Times.

He called the ruling “unjustified,” and said the case will now proceed to the next phase.

“The local court still needs to hear appeals such as whether the Canadian officials detained Meng for substantive reasons and based on the legal process.” Zhi said.

Meng is now due back in court on June 15.

-With files from Ria Renouf