China to conduct trial of two Canadian nationals for alleged espionage

ANI
·2-min read
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Beijing [China], March 14 (ANI): Canadian nationals Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were prosecuted by the procuratorates in China for suspected crimes undermining China's national security, will soon be tried, a source said.

According to Global Times, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespersons have reiterated the status of both cases addressing Kovrig and Spavor and China's judicial authorities have released information about the cases.

"Kovrig was accused of having used an ordinary passport and business visa to enter China to steal sensitive information and intelligence through contacts in China since 2017, while Spavor was accused of being a key source of intelligence for Kovrig," the Chinese government mouthpiece reported.

Global Times, citing another source reported that previously due to the COVID-19 epidemic situation, the hearings for both cases have yet to commence, and the court will push forward the trial soon.

"The two accused Canadians will be tried according to the law," the source said.

Former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor have been detained in China since their arrest in December 2018.

The "two Michaels" as they are often referred to are widely seen to be pawns in a diplomatic row between the two countries that began with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on December 1, 2018.

Beijing was incensed over Meng's arrest and demanded her immediate release, but Canada did not comply. Ten days later, Kovrig and Spavor were arrested. The pair have languished in jail for 18 months without official charges.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the international community must "stand against" arbitrary detention as a bargaining chip in international relations.

"It's completely unacceptable. And it's already prohibited under international human rights conventions. But some countries still do it, and we as a global community have to stand against it," he said.

"I urge more countries to join us in making it clear that arbitrary detention has absolutely no place in state-to-state relations. Human beings are not bargaining chips. This is a matter of human rights and the rule of law," he added.

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals as leverage over another government was indefensible and Britain would not tolerate it.

"It's completely unacceptable. And it's already prohibited under international human rights conventions. But some countries still do it, and we as a global community have to stand against it," he said.

"I urge more countries to join us in making it clear that arbitrary detention has absolutely no place in state-to-state relations. Human beings are not bargaining chips. This is a matter of human rights and the rule of law," he added. (ANI)