The two Michael arrived in Canada

The RCAF Challenger landed just before 8 a.m. (EST) on Saturday morning at Calgary International Airport, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was waiting for them.

While Mr. Spavor manages to reunite his family in Calgary, Mr. Kovrig must take another flight to Toronto, where his relatives are staying. It is expected to arrive around 12:30 PM (EST).

The day before, Justin Trudeau announced that the Canadians had just left Chinese airspace, along with the Canadian ambassador to China, Dominic Barton. They are on their way to Canada, had been announced.

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were arrested in China on December 13, 2018, after the chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver earlier this month, at the request of the United States.

On charges of espionage, they spent more than 1,000 days in prison – Mr. Kovrig in a facility in Beijing; Mr. Spavor is at a station in Dandong, on the border with North Korea – most of which has no contact with relatives or lawyers.

In the six months following their arrest, the two Canadians were subjected to hours of interrogation by the Chinese authorities, which in particular forced them to keep the harsh light on 24 hours a day in their cell.

Their isolation was such that Michael Kovrig didn’t know until October 2020 that the world had been plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic since the start of the year.

Last August, Mr. Spavor, an expert on North Korea, was convicted of spying and revealing state secrets by a Chinese court, which sentenced him to 11 years in prison and sentenced him to prison for forcing him to leave the country. However, no date has been set for his deportation.

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Meanwhile, the trial of Mr. Kovrig, a former diplomat based in Beijing, ended in March, but the verdict remains pending.

During her trial, Ms. Meng was under house arrest in Vancouver.

Hostage diplomacy

The release of the Canadians coincides with the release of Meng Wanzhou, who was able to leave Canada and travel to China on Friday after the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled an agreement reached between Huawei’s executive and the US judiciary.

Although the Canadian government and its allies have argued that Michael’s detention was in fact an act of retaliation after Ms Meng’s arrest, Beijing has consistently denied that the two cases are connected in any way.

However, this assumption was reinforced by the speed with which the Canadians were released after Meng Wanzhou obtained his ticket to China.

For former diplomat and China specialist Jean-François Lepin, there is no doubt that China participated in it Hostage diplomacy.

By letting them go, Beijing confirmed that they were only there for a hostage cause, at odds with the United States and Canada., he said Saturday, in an interview with RDI.

Mr. Libin expected China to delay the release of the Canadians a little, in order to perpetuate, he said, The myth of espionage accusations and come to exchange of “prisoners”.

However, their immediate release and arrival in the country, accompanied by Ambassador Dominic Barton, was confirmed by China This value was only at hand to negotiate the release of Ms. Meng, he added.

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Libin warned that seeing a country like China resort to this practice of settling disputes was “extremely dangerous”.

Ms Meng, who was facing accusations of fraud and violation of US sanctions, was given a warm welcome on her arrival Saturday at Shenzhen Airport in Guangdong Province.

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