Trudeau: China wants Canada to overrule courts and release Meng Wanzhou, but it won't do that

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that China has been trying to interfere with Canada's judiciary by repeatedly asking for the release of Meng Wanzhou.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to be very clear with China: Canadian politicians will not override the courts to effect the release of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Trudeau said that at a town hall that took place at Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton, Ont. on Thursday night.

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The prime minister was answering a question that mentioned Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company whose chief financial officer was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1, following an extradition request by the United States.

Meng, the CFO, has numerous charges against her including bank and wire fraud, in connection with allegations that Huawei was doing business with Iran via a subsidiary known as Skycom, in violation of sanctions against the Islamic republic.

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China has demanded that Canada “immediately release” Meng.

But Canada will not do that — the prime minister said Thursday that its politicians “don’t get to weigh in on court proceedings.”

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“We have a judiciary that is independent of political pressures and political processes, and that’s a good thing,” Trudeau said.

“It is something that, quite frankly, is a cornerstone of Canada, our laws and our values, but it’s also a cornerstone of an awful lot of countries around the world who are friends and allies.”

The prime minister explained that Canada has an extradition treaty with the U.S., and that if a person commits a crime that would also be an offence in Canada, then that person will be tried in the country’s justice system, which will ultimately decide whether to give them up.

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The U.S. made official its extradition request for Meng only recently. Canada’s Department of Justice has 30 days to determine whether an “Authority to Proceed” will be issued following the request.

Once such an authority is approved, an extradition hearing happens to determine whether the individual will be handed over.

A judge overseeing the hearing will look at the evidence to see whether evidence supporting the allegations would have been enough to put the person up for trial in Canada, should the offense have happened there.

If the judge isn’t satisfied by the evidence, then the individual will be released.

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Meng’s arrest was followed by China’s detainment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor on “national security” grounds.

Trudeau has called those arrests “arbitrary.”

And he’s standing firm on the independence of Canada’s justice system.

“We need to make sure that China understands that Canada is going to unequivocally stand up for the rule of law, respect our international treaties and obligations, and always put the safety of Canadians first,” Trudeau said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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