Thursday, September 29, 2022

Canada condemns China’s conviction of Michael Spavor on charges of espionage

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Canada condemned China’s conviction and sentencing of its citizen Michael Spavor in “the strongest possible terms.”

Canada’s Spavor, who was detained by China in 2018, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Chinese court on charges of espionage.
“This decision is rendered after a legal process that lacked both fairness and transparency, including a trial that did not satisfy the minimum standards required by international law,” Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We have maintained for more than 2 and a half years that the detentions of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are completely arbitrary,” he added.

Canadian Michael Spavor, detained by China in 2018, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Chinese court in Liaoning Province on charges of espionage, local media reported.

Spavor will be deported, but it was not clear when. The local court also said 50,000 yuan of Spavor’s personal assets will be confiscated, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported.

China detained Spavor in December 2018, a few days after Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver. Along with Spavor, another Canadian national Michael Kovrig was detained. Kovrig is also awaiting a verdict following his trial, which ended in March.

Canadian nationals – former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor – have been in Chinese detention on espionage charges. Ottawa, however, maintains that these are retaliatory measures for Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, who was detained in Vancouver in 2018 at the request of the United States.

This decision on Michael Spavor comes a day after a Chinese court on Tuesday upheld the death penalty for another Canadian Robert Schellenberg for drug smuggling, local media reported. Canada had strongly condemned Beijing’s decision to uphold the death sentence against Schellenberg.

Sino-Canadian relations soured after the arrest of Meng and two Canadian nationals in China. The extradition process against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou could not be any fairer, Crown attorney Robert Frater told a British Columbia Supreme Court judge, rejecting the defense’s appeal to end the proceedings.

The final arguments in the nearly 19-month extradition process against the Huawei executive continued Tuesday, with lawyers representing the Attorney General of Canada (AGC), on behalf of the United States, making the case before Associate Justice Heather Holmes that the Huawei executive’s defence is nothing more than a concoction of mostly baseless assertions, at times, held together loosely by “conspiracy theories.” Meng’s legal team, which counts more than half-dozen lawyers, is arguing that the United States’ bid to have her extradited south of the border to face justice for fraud charges should be denied because she is the victim of an abuse of process.

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