Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has filed a civil claim alleging several Canadian agencies violated her constitutional rights.
The claim, which was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Friday, alleges that members of the Canadian Border Service Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Attorney General of Canada worked together to detain Meng and collect evidence in a manner that violated her Charter rights.
The suit claims the arrest warrant filed on November 30, 2018, called for Meng’s immediate arrest, based on a sworn affidavit which said arresting Meng during her brief stopover in Vancouver was “urgent and necessary” to prevent her from leaving Canadian soil.
Despite the immediacy of the situation, Meng’s lawyers allege that the CBSA detained, searched and interrogated Meng under the false pretense of a “customs or immigration examination” instead of immediately arresting her and giving her the opportunity to retain legal counsel.
According to the suit, Meng was held without cause for three hours before an RCMP constable arrived and informed her of the cause of her arrest and her right to counsel.
The suit alleges that the officer, whose affidavit was the basis of the warrant, committed an unlawful act by delaying his arrival, despite knowing when Meng’s flight arrived.
Experts say the filing of the suit shortly after the Canadian government announced their intention to begin the extradition process may be a stall tactic, designed to keep the 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 suit) may be an opportunity to draw out this process further.”
Meng is due back in court on Wednesday as Canada begins the process of determining whether she can be extradited.
The United States has charged Meng and Huawei with fraud over an alleged effort to deal with Iran, despite U.S. sanctions.
Meng is seeking unspecified damages for the wrongful exercise of authority in public office, as well as false imprisonment, alongside costs that will be incurred in the suit.
None of the allegations in her claim have been tested in court.