Meng’s arrest in December 2018 led to a deterioration in Sino-Canadian relations and was swiftly followed by the detention of Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, who have since been charged with espionage by Beijing. Chinese authorities, however, deny that the incidents are related to the Meng trial.
A group of former Canadian legislators and diplomats have published a letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene and stop the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, previously arrested in Winnipeg on a US warrant. According to them, it could make Beijing release two Canadians – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, previously arrested by the Chinese authorities.
“The two Michaels were taken in direct retaliation for the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou”, the letter made public by the CBC says. “We believe that the two Michaels will remain in their Chinese prison cells until Meng is free to return to China… We contend that the time is past due for the (justice) minister to… end the Meng extradition proceeding and to bring the two Michaels home”.
REUTERS / JENNIFER GAUTHIER
Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The statement was signed by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, ex-foreign ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Lawrence Cannon, and former attorney general Allan Rock, and other officials, including Robert Fowler, a former diplomat who was held hostage by al-Qaeda.
Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and the company’s financial chief, was detained in Vancouver on 1 December 2018, at the request of the United States. She has since been charged with bank fraud and accused of misinforming HSBC Holdings Plc about Huawei’s activities in Iran, in violation of US sanctions.