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Huawei CFO’s extradition hearings end in Canada, ruling due in October

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou (C) arrives at British Columbia’s Supreme Court with her security detail for the afternoon session of her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, Canada, on August 4, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The hearings in Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case have concluded in a Canadian court after nearly 1,000 days of legal conflict.

The hearings ended at British Columbia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, and Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes is due to issue a final verdict on October 21.

Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States, charging her with bypassing unilateral US sanctions on Iran. She has denied the charge.

The Canadian prosecutors in the case claimed also on Wednesday that Meng’s defense had failed.

If the judge rules in favor of extradition, a final decision will then be made by Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti. If transferred to the United States for trial and subsequently convicted, the Huawei chief financial officer (CFO) could face more than 30 years in a US prison. Both decisions could be reviewed by Meng’s legal team, which observers of the case say could take years to proceed.

Meng, the daughter of company founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, is confined to Vancouver and electronically monitored on bail conditions as she awaits the outcome of her extradition proceedings.

In a hearing last week, her lawyers argued that the United States misled Canada when it summarized the evidence against Meng, and that former US president Donald Trump’s comments on her case poisoned any trial she might face, among other arguments.

Huawei Canada issued a statement following the conclusion of the hearings. “From the start, Huawei has been confident in Ms Meng’s innocence and has trusted the Canadian judicial system. Accordingly, Huawei has been supporting Ms Meng’s pursuit of justice and freedom. We continue to do so today,” it said.

Trump in 2019 accused Huawei of posing a threat to America’s national security and announced that the US had blacklisted the Chinese company, banning it from accessing US technology.

China has arrested two Canadian nationals and sentenced a third one to death over drug smuggling charges and imposed restrictions on agricultural imports. Beijing denies any link between the Canadians’ arrest and Meng’s case, pointing to the independence of the judiciary branch of its government.

In retaliation, Canada is also considering whether to allow Huawei to participate in the development of its 5G network.

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