Huawei CFO alleges 'false imprisonment,' rights violated in lawsuit
Published Sunday, March 3, 2019 11:50AM PST
Last Updated Sunday, March 3, 2019 10:58PM PST
Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has launched a lawsuit accusing several Canadian agencies of violating her constitutional rights.
The civil claim, filed at the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Friday, seeks damages for “misfeasance in public office” and “false imprisonment.”
The lawsuit names three Canadian Border Service Agency officers as “John Does,” one RCMP constable and the Attorney General of Canada.
On Dec. 1, 2018, Meng was detained at the Vancouver International Airport during a layover at the request of the U.S. government.
The claim alleges the constable and the CBSA officers purposefully delayed executing a warrant and instead, detained, searched and interrogated Meng under the guise of a routine border check to obtain evidence from her before she was arrested.
It also claims the CBSA officers did not allow Meng to speak to anyone else while she was detained, including a lawyer.
Meng's two cellphones, an iPad and a computer were seized and CBSA officers demanded that she share the passwords to the devices, according to the lawsuit.
"The CBSA officers knew or were recklessly indifferent to the fact that they had no authority to conduct such a search, which search was performed under the false pretense of a routine customs or immigration related examation," the lawsuit describes.
It says Meng was only told three hours after she was detained that she was being arrested.
The lawsuit suggests that since the Meng did not know why she was being detained, her Charter rights were violated.
The claim alleges CBSA officers and RCMP constable did not believe they would've been able to obtain information had Meng been arrested right away.
Meng has since suffered mental distress, anxiety and loss of liberty since the detention at YVR, according to the claim.
She is seeking damages, but the lawsuit does not specifically say how much.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
On Friday, the Canadian Department of Justice gave the go-ahead for an extradition case against Meng, marking the formal start of the high-profile process that has put Canada in an uncomfortable position between the United States and China.
The U.S. Department of Justice has laid out 13 criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction against Huawei and Meng, who is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.
Experts say this lawsuit may be a stall tactic to prevent the Canadian government from extraditing Meng quickly.
"This is going to be a long, drawn out, multi-front legal fight," Stewart Prest, political science instructor at Simon Fraser University, told CTV News Channel. "[The notice of claim] may be an opportunity to draw out this process further."
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said it is “utterly dissatisfied” with Friday's decision, calling the case “a political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly maintained Canada is simply following the rule of law.
Meng's extradition case is scheduled to resume in the B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTVNews.ca