By David Barry
From time to time it is important to remember and put a light on “forgotten” legal cases that didn’t find a solution after a long time, I’m talking about the two years Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Without breaking any Canadian law, Meng was provisionally detained in December 2018 by the Canadian authorities at the behest of the United States, while she was transiting in Canada.
The first strange thing was that at that time Huawei has been provided very little information regarding the charges and was totally unaware of any wrongdoing committed by Meng.
Also from the diplomatic side nothing came out and the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang clarified that both countries have not provided any evidence to China in regard to Meng’s alledged violation of any Canadian or American laws. More important Canada has no jurisdiction over Meng, be it based on the nationality principle or territorial principle.
This case is not a surprise because it is known that the United States has always put its domestic law above the international one, and its “long-arm jurisdiction” has often drawn criticism all over the world.
Yet in spite of all this, Canada decided to “forget” the international rules and follow the United States, paying the bill for America’s wrong actions.
Ironically Canada keeps boasting of is “human rights,” but in this case, one can barely claim that Meng’s right was respected. Arresting a Chinese citizen during her change of flight without giving any concrete reason was severely violating her legitimate rights and interests.
Also in Meng’s case, Canada decided to treat her as a dangerous criminal prior to any trial or without any conviction.
The unfair treatment came on top of the fact that The Huawei CFO has health issues like high-blood pressure, sleeping disorders, and is still in recovery from a neck surgery in May 2018.
Inevitably Meng decided in March 2019 to sue the Canadian government, its border agency and the national police force over her high profile detention. Meng claims they detained, searched and interrogated her before telling her she was under arrest.
The suit also claims Canada Border Service Agency agents seized her electronic devices, obtained passwords and unlawfully viewed the contents and intentionally failed to adviser her of the true reasons for her detention. The suit said only after three hours was she told she was under arrest and had right to counsel.
“This case concerns a deliberate and pre-meditated effort on the part of the defendant officers to obtain evidence and information from the plaintiff in a manner which they knew constituted serious violations of the plaintiff’s rights,” the claim says.
This case is without a doubt a political action and the fact the US has been trying to bar Huawei from Western 5G networks is evident to all.
The United States uses its so-called long-arm jurisdiction as a weapon to stymie competition and other countries need to join hands to counter such a unilateralist practice, said Frederic Pierucci a former executive of French company Alstom. He co-authored of an interesting book entitled The American Trap.
After two long years there is a big hope that this absurd case find a long waited happy end even if none will pay back to Mrs Meng this terrible period.