• August 11, 2021

China jails Canadian Michael Spavor for 11 years on espionage charges

In a statement on Spavor’s decision, Trudeau harshly criticized China’s justice system.

“Mr. Spavor’s verdict comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process and a trial that did not meet even the minimum standards required by international law,” he said.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a statement on Twitter supporting Canada in the two cases.

“Australia supports Canada in response to the arbitrary detention of Michael Spavor and the maintenance of the death penalty for Robert Schellenberg in China. We ask for due process and transparency and we oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, ”he said.

Spavor was arrested together with Michael Kovrig – a Hong Kong-based analyst with the International Crisis Group and a former Canadian diplomat – days after Meng’s arrest and has been jailed ever since. The Canadian side has not received any indication as to the timing of Kovrig’s verdict, according to Barton.

Spavor has the right to appeal the sentence. But Chinese courts rarely overturn criminal sentences, and their fate could hinge on deals between Beijing, Ottawa and Washington at a time when Beijing’s relations with Western powers are particularly strained.

The ruling will fuel anger in Canada, where public attitudes toward the Chinese government have been hardened by the prosecution of the two Canadians. In particular, many critics have compared the harsh conditions Canadians have faced with Meng’s lavish lifestyle.

By contrast, in Vancouver, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO, stands in front of one of its two mansions, where she is under house arrest. He wears an electronic ankle bracelet and is free to travel around town. Credit:Canadian press

The “Canadians Michaels” have been held in secret prisons for more than two years, separated from their families and with limited legal and consular access. The two were tried in short and opaque trials in March. Meanwhile, Meng has been out on $ 10 million Canadian ($ 10 million) bail on a seven-bedroom mansion in a rarefied Vancouver neighborhood, where he has received private painting and massage lessons. He wears a GPS tracker on his left ankle and has been able to get around Vancouver.

Chinese officials have accused Canada of trapping Meng and have denied that Spavor and Kovrig are being held hostage to pressure Ottawa to allow Meng to return to China.

“This is nothing short of a political incident in which Canada played a very shameful role as an accomplice,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said in March of the Meng case. “We urge the Canadian side to immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou.”

But Trudeau has said that Spavor and Kovrig were arrested on “bogus charges” as “an attempt to pressure us to release the executive,” and has defended Meng’s arrest as a simple application of the rule of law and Canadian extradition. treaty obligations with the United States.

People convicted of serious violations of the section of the law cited by Chinese authorities face between 10 years and life in prison.

Bloomberg, The New York Times

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