Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Court dates are set for two Canadians detained in China on charges of espionage


In a statement on thursdayCanadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Garneau said the country’s embassy in Beijing “has been notified that court hearings for Michael Spawer and Michael Koverig are scheduled to take place on March 19 and March 22, respectively.”

Both Canadians have been detained since December 2018 and charged with espionage in June last year.

Kovrag, a former Canadian diplomat who worked for the International Crisis Group (ICG), has been accused by Chinese authorities of “stealing sensitive information and intelligence through contacts in China since 2017”, while Spyware is a Beijing-based businessman. North Korea is accused of giving intelligence to Kovil.

Chinese authorities have not disclosed any evidence against the two people nor provided information about their alleged crimes, but said “the facts are clear and the evidence is convincing.”

Two people were detained following the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wenzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, over allegations that the company violated United States sanctions on Iran. Meng – whose extradition hearing is currently underway – has been held House arrest In Vancouver since 2018.
Sprayer must be going on trial As US and Chinese officials are meeting in AlaskaThis is the first time such high-level discussion has taken place since Joe Biden became president.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken represented Washington in the meeting Previously spoken In support of the two Canadians, he was called upon to be released “immediately and unconditionally”.

‘Political’ prosecution

Family members and both Canadian men have contacts They are being described in poor conditions, And deprived of outside contact. Nearly all person-related consular visits to foreign prisoners in China have been halted since last year due to the coronovirus epidemic, with diplomats only talking to those detained via phone.

After being accused of espionage by Kowrig and Spoer last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the “political” nature of his case, saying his detention was a “decision by the Chinese government and we put an end to it”. “

Trudeau has repeatedly refused to consider any trade for the two Canadians for Meng, whose detention has seen a deterioration in relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Last month, the Canadian Parliament Approved a non-binding resolution accusing China of genocide Relations between the two countries further strained, against their Muslim minorities in the western region of Xinjiang.

In his statement on Thursday, Guarnio said that Canada believes that the detention of Kovrug and Sporter is “arbitrary, and deeply troubled by the lack of transparency around these proceedings.”

“Canadian officials are seeking continued consular access to Mr. Spore and Mr. Koverig according to the Consular Convention on Vienna Convention and the Sino-Canada Consular Agreement, and they have also requested to participate in the proceedings,” he said. said. “Canadian officials will continue to provide consular assistance to these men and their families during this unacceptable process.”

Both administrations of former US President Donald Trump, and now US President Joe Biden have pledged to assist both Canadians with Vice President Kamala Harris Telling trudo A phone call in February stated that Washington was “concerned about the issue of two Canadian citizens being detained by China with strong solidarity with Canada.”

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