RCMP, bor­der agency deny search­ing Huawei ex­ec­u­tive’s phones, de­vices

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Amy SMART

VAN­COU­VER — Lawyers for the RCMP and Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency deny al­le­ga­tions that their of­fi­cers searched Huawei ex­ec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou’s phones and elec­tronic de­vices af­ter a bor­der of­fi­cial wrote down her pass­words.

A joint re­sponse filed Mon­day to Meng’s civil law­suit says a bor­der of­fi­cer asked Meng for her phone num­bers and pass­words in case he was re­quired to search the de­vices for cus­toms or im­mi­gra­tion pur­poses. It says nei­ther bor­der of­fi­cials nor RCMP of­fi­cers ex­am­ined their con­tents.

The RCMP and the U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice never re­quested or sug­gested that bor­der of­fi­cials pur­sue any par­tic­u­lar line of ques­tion­ing be­fore Meng was pre­sented with an Amer­i­can ex­tra­di­tion or­der, was read her rights and ar­rested at Van­cou­ver’s air­port on Dec. 1, the re­sponse states.

“The plain­tiff’s al­le­ga­tions that her char­ter rights were vi­o­lated, that the de­fen­dants acted un­law­fully and that she suf­fered harm are with­out merit,” it says.

Lawyers for Meng could not be reached Wed­nes­day. A state­ment from the Chi­nese tele­com gi­ant Huawei said it re­mains con­fi­dent that the Cana­dian ju­di­cial sys­tem will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for Meng to re­ceive com­plete ex­on­er­a­tion.

None of the al­le­ga­tions in the le­gal ac­tion has been proven in court.

The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment wants Meng to face crim­i­nal charges over al­le­ga­tions of break­ing sanc­tions against Iran. The U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice has laid charges of con­spir­acy, fraud and ob­struc­tion against Huawei and Meng, who is the daugh­ter of com­pany founder Ren Zhengfei. Her ex­tra­di­tion process in Van­cou­ver has cre­ated in­creas­ing ten­sions be­tween Canada and China.

Meng’s civil law­suit filed in B.C. Supreme Court al­leges “se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions” of her con­sti­tu­tional rights, and ac­cuses of­fi­cers of de­tain­ing and ques­tion­ing her for three hours be­fore no­ti­fy­ing her of her ar­rest.

The suit al­leges that RCMP of­fi­cers and/ or rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice ar­ranged for Cana­dian bor­der of­fi­cials to de­lay serv­ing her with the ar­rest war­rant “un­der the guise of a rou­tine bor­der check.”

The law­suit seeks dam­ages for false im­pris­on­ment based on mul­ti­ple al­leged fail­ures of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to com­ply with the rule of law upon her de­ten­tion, search and in­ter­ro­ga­tion at the air­port.

The joint re­sponse says that although bor­der of­fi­cers were alerted by RCMP about the ar­rest war­rant, they only ex­am­ined Meng and her lug­gage for im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms pur­poses.

Bor­der of­fi­cers did not have the au­thor­ity to im­me­di­ately ex­e­cute the ex­tra­di­tion war­rant them­selves and it was ap­pro­pri­ate for the RCMP not to in­ter­fere in the cus­toms process, it says.

The re­ply also says a three-hour ex­am­i­na­tion by bor­der of­fi­cials is not un­com­mon. Af­ter Meng landed, bor­der of­fi­cials con­fis­cated two of her cell­phones at the re­quest of the RCMP “so that any data could not be re­motely deleted,” the court doc­u­ment says.

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