Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dismissed calls from former parliamentarians and diplomats to release Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who the US accuses of helping the of Chinese telecommunications giant dodge American sanctions on Iran, and unilaterally end her extradition process, it was reported.
A group of 19 persons, including former foreign affairs ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Lawrence Cannon, penned a letter to Trudeau this week saying Justice Minister David Lametti should intervene to free Meng, CBC News said in a report on Thursday.
They said Meng’s release would give Canada the chance to “redefine its strategic approach to China”.
“There is no question that the US extradition request has put Canada in a difficult position. As Prime Minister, you face a difficult decision. Complying with the US request has greatly antagonized China,” the letter said.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is being sought by Washington on charges that she committed bank fraud and violated US sanctions on Iran by misleading banks about the business her company allegedly conducted in that country through a subsidiary called Skycom.
She was was arrested at the request of the US on December 1, 2018, in Vancouver where she was making a stopover on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico City.
Last month, a Canadian judge declined to invalidate a request from the US for her extradition, saying that Meng’s interpretation of “the double criminality analysis would seriously limit Canada’s ability to fulfil its international obligations in the extradition context for fraud and other economic crimes”.
Responding to the letter, Trudesu told reporters on Thursday: “I respect these distinguished Canadians who put forward that letter but I deeply disagree with them… They’re wrong in their approach.”
Trudeau said he was sympathetic to the plight of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadians who were detained in China shortly after Meng’s arrest, but he said Canada cannot “let China get away with this sort of hostage diplomacy”, reports CBC News.
Trudeau said his government is firmly committed to the rule of law and Meng’s case will be handled by the country’s justice system.
“We need to continue to be absolutely crystal clear that Canada has an independent judiciary and those processes will unfold independently of any political pressure, including by foreign governments,” Trudeau said.
“We deplore what China did.”
When asked if he would consider levying sanctions on top Communist party officials, Trudeau said his government was open to any action against China that does not “endanger other Canadians in the future”.