Home Web information Two Canadians jailed by China have been released, Prime Minister Trudeau says

Two Canadians jailed by China have been released, Prime Minister Trudeau says

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“These two men have gone through an incredibly difficult ordeal over the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by it,” Trudeau said at a press conference at the end. evening in Ottawa.

Trudeau declined to discuss details of how their release came about, but thanked Canadian allies for their support.

Former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor had been detained in China since late 2018. They were arrested on charges of spying in China shortly after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested under a related US warrant to the company’s trade relations in Iran. However, China has always denied that the affairs were related in any way.

Earlier on Friday, the US Department of Justice and Meng reached an agreement to postpone legal action against her in the United States until the end of 2022, after which the charges could be dropped.

Meng left Canada on Friday on a Chinese government-chartered flight to China, state news agency Xinhua reported.

In a long article on his WeChat account on Saturday, Meng described his tears as his flight from Vancouver to Shenzhen crossed the North Pole and praised the ruling Chinese Communist Party. A CNN source saw the post which is not open to the public.

“As we get closer to home, I feel more and more emotional, tears come to my eyes. Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, our homeland is heading for prosperity. Without this strong homeland, I would not. wouldn’t have my freedom today, “she wrote. “I thank my beloved homeland, and I thank the Party and the government (…) for turning on a light during my darkest hours and guiding me on my long journey home.”

The US case revolved around whether Meng, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, had misled HSBC bank about the relationship with an Iranian subsidiary, Skycom, which the United States claims violated US sanctions against Iran. Meng is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

Meng virtually appeared in court in Brooklyn, New York, and pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud.

However, as part of the deal, Meng confirmed that the statement of facts in the deferred prosecution agreement is true. These facts include that she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with Skycom at HSBC, according to court documents. If she says or suggests otherwise, it could violate the terms of the agreement and lead to prosecution.

Three-year legal saga

Meng was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver in December 2018. Nine days later, Spavor and Kovrig were arrested in China – a move widely interpreted as political retaliation for her arrest.

Beijing has denied holding the two Canadians as political hostages, but their lawsuits have come at critical times. Their hearings – held separately behind closed doors in March – were announced the day before the first high-level meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials since Joe Biden came to power. Spavor’s conviction in August, when he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for espionage and unlawful disclosure of state secrets abroad, came as Meng’s hearings entered their final stages in Vancouver.

The Huawei and Meng team previously denied the US allegations, saying HSBC executives were aware of Huawei’s dealings with Skycom. They also claimed that the US case – which was filed amid former President Donald Trump’s trade war with China – was politically motivated.

After Trudeau’s announcement on Friday, Kovrig’s employer, think tank International Crisis Group, hailed the news.

“The day we have been waiting for for 1,020 days has finally arrived. Michael Kovrig is free,” said Acting Vice President Comfort Ero. “In Beijing: We welcome this most just decision. In Ottawa: Thank you for your unwavering support to our colleague. In the United States: Thank you for your willingness to support an ally and our colleague. To the inimitable, tireless and inspiring Michael Kovrig, welcome home! “

CNN’s Steven Jiang, Clare Duffy, Evan Perez, Nectar Gan, Jessie Yeung and Steve George contributed reporting.


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