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Huawei's Meng back in Canadian court to fight extradition to US

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Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou returned to a Canadian court on Monday to fight extradition to the United States, with her lawyers expected to question federal police and border agents about the way she was detained.

[VANCOUVER] Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou returned to a Canadian court on Monday to fight extradition to the United States, with her lawyers expected to question federal police and border agents about the way she was detained.

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 bank fraud related to violations of US sanctions against Iran.

Meng arrived at court flanked by security guards and wearing a navy blue sweater over a white shirt and gray slacks, her ankle monitor visible as it has been in previous hearings.

She appeared largely expressionless as she greeted reporters, although her face was partially obscured by a coronavirus mask.

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Five days of evidentiary hearings are set for this week before British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes.

Meng's lawyers will seek to convince Judge Holmes that Canadian federal police and border agents violated her rights in questioning her and searching her devices in the three hours after she disembarked from the Hong Kong flight but before her arrest.

And they will say seizing and turning over the contents of her electronic devices, including her phone and laptop, to the FBI was itself a violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Meng's lawyers allege that Canadian and US authorities "conspired together to delay Meng's arrest and tried to obtain information that would help US authorities prosecute her on fraud charges."

Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Border Services Agency officers involved in her arrest will be questioned by the defense about what transpired at the airport. More expert witnesses could be called to testify on Meng's behalf in late November.

SEARCH AND INTERROGATION

Arguments of "unlawful detention, search and interrogation" have been raised before as part of a failed bid by the defense to access classified documents and emails between officials.

The defence had hoped to find proof in them of an alleged conspiracy to interrogate Meng and collect evidence to use at her US trial, in violation of her rights.

If proven, the allegations could result in a stay of the extradition proceedings.

Earlier this month, Judge Holmes rejected a defence bid for access to all but one of hundreds of government documents, citing legal privilege.

"The attorney general of Canada doesn't accept there was any conspiracy to deprive Ms Meng of her rights," senior government lawyer Robert Frater said in July.

"We do not accept there was any violation of Ms Meng's rights."

After this round, the defense is expected to argue at hearings next year that US President Donald Trump "poisoned" her chance at a fair trial when he said shortly after her arrest that he might exchange Meng for trade concessions from China.

The case is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021.

AFP

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