China released two Canadians who have been trapped on suspicion of espionage since 2018. The pair arrive in Canada on Saturday morning (local time), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference. The release briefly follows the deal that Huaweis top financially top woman Meng Wanzhou made with the US justice, which had requested her extradition.
The top manager was suspected of fraud and conspiracy and was under house arrest in the Canadian city of Vancouver for nearly three years. The United States suspected her of lying about trade contacts with an Iranian company, which has been imposed by US sanctions. Thats how she would have misled HSBC bank about it.
Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and his compatriot Michael Kovrig were arrested shortly after Mengs detention in 2018. Spavor was sentenced to eleven years in China last month. Prime Minister Trudeau announced shortly after Meng left Canada that his compatriots had also been released.
The prosecution of the two Michaels had caused great outrage in Canada. A Canadian initiative against securing foreign citizens to exert diplomatic pressure received the support of the Netherlands and dozens of other countries in February. China has always contradicted that there was a link between the mens arrest and the Huawei drivers arrest.
“There will be time for reflection and analysis in the coming days and weeks,” Trudeau told the press in Ottawa. “The fact is that Canadians will be extremely happy that right now, on this Friday night, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on the plane and come home.”
The United States has also welcomed the release of the duo. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a brief statement that his government welcomes the Chinese decision to let the two Canadians go after “more than 2.5 years of arbitrary detention.”