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Canada Vows to Assist Two Michaels After Their Detention in China: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is refuting the idea that Canada’s assistance to two citizens detained in China implies their involvement in espionage on behalf of Ottawa.

Trudeau stated on Mar. 7 that the government will support Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in rebuilding their lives after being unfairly imprisoned in China for three years.

Describing China’s use of the two Canadians as pawns in geopolitical strategies, Trudeau emphasized that Canada has supported Kovrig and Spavor since the beginning of their ordeal.

“We’ve stood by the two Michaels through unimaginable challenges during their unjust detention by China,” he said. “Our support for them will continue.”

Trudeau criticized China for the politically motivated arrests of the Canadians, stating that there was no justification for their actions.

These remarks followed a statement from John Phillips, Mr. Spavor’s lawyer, indicating that his client had reached a settlement with the federal government concerning his detention.

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Mr. Phillips mentioned in an email that the issue with Mr. Spavor and the government had been “resolved.”

Trudeau refrained from revealing on Mar. 7 whether compensation had been provided to Mr. Kovrig, citing the need for confidentiality.

In December 2018, Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, at the request of the United States on charges related to American sanctions against Iran.

This action sparked outrage from Beijing, resulting in the subsequent arrests of Kovrig and Spavor, both Canadians working in China, on allegations of jeopardizing national security as a retaliatory measure against Ottawa.

In closed Chinese courts in 2021, both Kovrig and Spavor were convicted of espionage. The process was condemned by Canada and its allies as arbitrary detention based on baseless charges within an unaccountable judicial system.

A resolution was reached in Meng’s case with a deferred prosecution agreement in the United States, leading to her release, and Beijing allowed the return of the two Michaels in September 2021.

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