Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities, carries an umbrella to shield herself from rain as she leaves her home to attend a court hearing, in Vancouver, on Thursday Oct. 3, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Huawei CFO’s extradition would ‘undermine Canada’s sovereignty,’ lawyers argue

Extraditing a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei to the United States “would undermine Canada’s sovereignty and its independence on the world stage,” her lawyers argue.

Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou claim American prosecutors are trying to “dress up” a sanctions breaking case as a crime in their bid to extradite Huawei’s chief financial officer to the U.S.

Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities at the Vancouver International on Dec. 1, 2018, on a U.S. arrest warrant, setting off a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.

The U.S. accuses Meng, Huawei, a U.S. subsidiary and telecom equipment seller Skycom of committing bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges are linked to possible violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Meng and Huawei deny all charges.

They argue that the Iran sanctions that Meng and Huawei are alleged to have violated were imposed by the U.S. unilaterally and thus don’t have the force of international law.

“It is simply not Canada’s role to enforce American foreign policy through our laws, especially when such foreign policy is diametrically at odds with our country’s chosen legal framework,” her lawyers argue in legal documents released Thursday.

China is demanding Meng’s immediate release and has called on the U.S. to withdraw the extradition request and stop the “unreasonable suppression” of Chinese companies.

Canadian officials insist that there has been no political interference in her arrest and it will be up to the Canadian judicial system to decide whether she is extradited to the U.S. to face the charges against her.

The 47-year-old daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei remains free on a $10-million bail and resides at one of the mansions in Vancouver she co-owns with her husband.

Her extradition hearings are expected to begin in January of 2019.

China has retaliated by arresting two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, accusing them of “endangering national security.” Beijing has also piled up economic pressure on Canada by effectively stopping imports of some key commodities such as canola.

With files from CBC News

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