By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Lawyers for Chinese telecom giant Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou accused the US of abuse of power as her extradition hearing resumed Monday in a Canadian court.
It was the first of what is expected to be five days of hearings in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver.
Monday was a so-called Vukelich hearing, where the judge determines if there is enough evidence to support the possibility of the additional accusation of abuse of power.
If so, the defence will be allowed to introduce the accusation.
Meng’s lawyers contend the American extradition request made to Canada is flawed because US authorities excluded evidence that proves Meng did not lie to the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Huawei’s dealings with Iran. The Americans said she fraudulently skirted US sanctions on Iran and put the bank at risk by violating the sanctions.
Defence lawyer Scott Fenton told the judge the allegations that resulted in the extradition request to Canada are “manifestly unreliable” and “seriously misleading.”
Meng has been fighting the extradition since her arrest in December 2018 in a Vancouver airport. She is under house arrest in the city.
Canadian prosecutors are arguing that Meng should be extradited to the US.
The extradition hearing is expected to be concluded by April 2021, but appeals could drag out the case for years.
The case has triggered serious backlashes from China, where two Canadians were detained a few days after Meng’s arrest and have since been held incommunicado.
Chinese authorities have also sentenced four Canadians to death on various charges.