Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has filed a civil claim that alleges members of the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency breached her constitutional rights when she was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1.
Ms. Meng’s lawsuit says she was held and questioned for three hours without being advised of her rights and CBSA officers unlawfully searched her electronic devices. She is seeking a declaration that her Charter rights were infringed, along with unspecified damages.
On Friday, the Canadian government gave the green light for extradition hearings to proceed, prompting a statement from the Chinese embassy calling the case a “political persecution.”
China has accused Canada of collaborating with the United States to harass Ms. Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., China’s largest private company. In apparent retaliation for her arrest, Chinese authorities have detained two Canadians without charge – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both accused of endangering Chinese national security – and sentenced a third, Robert Schellenberg, to death after a single-day retrial on drug-trafficking charges.
The claim states that Canadian regulations allow CBSA officers to conduct routine searches of travellers at ports of entry. But when examinations are not routine – and in particular, when people are arrested – travellers are supposed to be informed of their rights, including rights to counsel, under the Charter.
The civil claim alleges Constable Yep and other RCMP officers – and possibly representatives of the United States Department of Justice – arranged with the CBSA and its officers to “detain, search and interrogate” Ms. Meng on her arrival.
According to Ms. Meng’s version of events, the officers did so “without arresting her, under the guise of a routine customs or immigration related examination,” and then used that opportunity to unlawfully compel her to provide evidence and information, the claim alleges.