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Canadian justice refused Friday to relax security measures around a Huawei executive who lives under house arrest in Vancouver, a few weeks of crucial hearings on his extradition to the United States.
Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers had pleaded that their client, financial director of the Chinese telecoms giant, was at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 because of the security agents of a private company who take turns every day to accompany her in each of his trips outside.
Ms. Meng was arrested in early December 2018 at Vancouver airport at the request of the United States, which wants to try her for bank fraud. She had been released on bail and has since been living under close surveillance, with a nighttime curfew, electronic ankle bracelet, limited outings and always accompanied by security guards, in her luxurious Vancouver home.
These conditions are “the minimum required to ensure that Ms. Meng goes to court when asked, and does not run away,” said Judge William Ehrcke during a brief hearing at the Supreme Court of Colombia. -British Friday morning.
The magistrate stressed that Ms. Meng had “significant resources” enabling her to organize a possible escape abroad, to escape a possible prison sentence in the United States if she was extradited there and found guilty.
Ms. Meng’s lawyers had requested that their client be allowed to leave her home without being accompanied by security officers from a private company mandated by the court.
The Canadian government opposed this request, citing in particular the increased risk of flight.
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou on December 1, 2018 at Vancouver airport, followed a few days later by the detention in China of two Canadians accused of espionage, caused a serious diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.
American justice accuses Ms. Meng of lying about Huawei’s ties to Iran, in violation of the American embargo against that country.
The final hearings in the extradition proceedings are due to resume in early March and end in May. But with the many possibilities for appeals, the procedure could take several more years.