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Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou sues Canada for violating her constitutional rights during arrest

File photo of Meng Wanzhou. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Montreal, QC, Canada Mar 04, 2019, 07.07 AM (IST)

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, has filed suit against Canadian authorities for violating her constitutional rights when she was arrested in Vancouver, her lawyers said Sunday.

As she suffered "serious breaches of her constitutional rights," she is "seeking damages for misfeasance in public office and false imprisonment" when detained at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, attorneys Howard Mickelson and Allan Doolittle said in a statement.  

The 47-year-old businesswoman was changing planes in Vancouver when she was detained at Washington's request on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran -- sparking arrests of Canadians in China that were seen as retaliatory.

Her lawyers charge impropriety in the conditions under which Meng was interrogated for three hours by the customs officers, officially as part of a routine inspection, before being served with her official arrest. 

During those three hours, the customs officers searched her phones and computers as well as her luggage, in violation of her rights, the lawyers said.

The complaint was lodged Friday, the same day that Canadian justice officially launched Meng Wanzhou's extradition process to the United States.

The US Justice Department accuses Huawei and its chief financial officer of circumventing US sanctions against Iran, but also, via two affiliates, stealing trade secrets from US telecommunications group T-Mobile.

The daughter of Huawei's founder, Meng was released on parole in mid-December in Vancouver, where she owns two residences, on a bond deposit of C$10 million ($6.6 million), wearing an electronic bracelet and handing over her passports.

She is scheduled to appear before a Vancouver judge next Wednesday "to confirm that a writ of court has been issued and to schedule a date for the extradition hearing," the Canadian court has explained.

The extradition procedure can take months or even years because of the many appeal possibilities.

China is furious over the US charges against Meng, saying they are the product of "strong political motivations" and an attempt to undermine its flagship telecoms company.

Huawei has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.