Published in The Guardian | July 27, 2020 | Via Agence France-Presse
VANCOUVER — Lawyers for the Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou have demanded the release of unredacted Canadian spy service documents they say would reveal a plot between the FBI and Canada to “trick” their client.
Meng, the Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer, was arrested on a US warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver. She is charged with violating US sanctions against Iran, and has been fighting extradition ever since.
During a videoconference hearing before a federal court in Ottawa, Meng’s lawyers demanded full publication of several documents that had been redacted before and after arrest. A redacted version of the documents has already been released.
They said the documents would provide proof of a plot between the US and Canadian authorities.
Scott Fenton, one of Meng’s lawyers, said on Monday his client had been questioned for three hours by Canadian customs agents at Vancouver airport without knowing what she was accused of, before being formally arrested.
He said that constituted a violation of her rights and justified halting the extradition process.
“She was never told the reasons she was detained,” Fenton said. “She was misled; she was tricked, in fact.”
The Canadian attorney general’s lawyer, Robert Frater, opposed the unredacted publication of the documents and denied any plot with the FBI.
He dismissed the allegations as “fanciful inferences from anodyne statements” in the court filings.
In a sworn statement delivered to a Vancouver court in July, a Canadian foreign ministry official said the full disclosure of the documents could “renew tensions” between the two countries and put Canadians in danger.
A few days after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver, China jailed a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, and his fellow countryman Michael Spavor, who were later charged with spying.
Their detention is largely seen in the west as a reprisal for Meng’s arrest.
The hearing at the federal court in Ottawa was later adjourned and will resume behind closed door on Thursday.
—AFP, also syndicated in Asia Times (HK) and International Business Times (US)