Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will not release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ruled out releasing a top Chinese tech executive in an attempt to win the release of two Canadians detained by Beijing.
- Mr Trudeau says releasing the Chinese executive would put more Canadians at risk
- The arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has angered China
- Two Canadians were taken into custody and charged with spying after Ms Wanzhou’s arrest
Mr Trudeau said releasing Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou would tell China it could get want it wants by arresting Canadians.
He said it would put more Canadian citizens at risk by signalling Canada can be intimidated.
“Randomly arresting Canadians doesn’t give you leverage over the government of Canada,” Mr Trudeau said.
Ms Meng, who is the chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested by Canadian authorities at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018.
The US wants her extradited to face fraud charges. Her arrest infuriated Beijing.
Chinese authorities arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and charged them with spying following Ms Meng’s arrest.
“We deplore what China did in arbitrarily detaining the two Michaels, in directly linking those arrests,” Mr Trudeau said.
A letter to Mr Trudeau signed by 19 former Canadian politicians and diplomats urges that Ms Meng be freed in a bid to win the release of the detained Canadians.
Signatories to the letter include former ministers in Mr Trudeau’s Liberal party as well as former Conservative minister Lawrence Cannon.
“I deeply disagree with them,” Mr Trudeau said.
“We cannot allow political pressures or random arrests of Canadian citizens to influence the functioning of our justice system.
“So I respect these individuals, but they’re wrong.”
Ms Meng is facing fraud charges in the United States but denies the allegations that she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with a company called Skycom Tech, which put the HSBC banking company at risk of violating sanctions in Iran.
Hearings in Ms Meng’s extradition case have been adjourned until August 17.
“Canada has an independent judiciary, and those processes will unfold independently of any political pressure, including by foreign governments,” Mr Trudeau said.
Ms Meng is free on bail and lives in her Vancouver mansion.
Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor are jailed, and Canadian diplomats have been refused consular access to them since January.