OTTAWA/TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says China has released detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and US Justice Department officials tried to settle criminal charges against him. and a BC judge acquitted the extradition case.
Speaking during a press conference late Friday, Trudeau said Kovrig and Spavor boarded a plane in China with Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, at around 7:30 p.m. EDT. He said the plane has since left Chinese airspace and “they are on their way home.”
Trudeau said, “These two men have gone through an incredibly difficult test. For the past 1,000 days they have shown struggle, perseverance, resilience and grace – and we are all inspired by that.”
“I want to thank their families who have been there for them, supporting them in every way and supporting us in the work we have done for their release,” he said.
Trudeau also thanked the “countless” Canadian diplomatic officials who have worked “tirelessly” over the past two and a half years leading up to the release of Kovrig and Spavor, as well as the country’s allies who “stand in solidarity with Canada.”
“Finally, I want to thank Canadians who have kept them in our thoughts and remain steadfast in the core value that Canadians stand up for and look out for each other,” Trudeau said. “These two people have been through an incredibly difficult situation, but it’s inspiring, and it’s great news for all of us that they are going home to their families.”
Two Canadians are in Chinese custody for 1,019 days on espionage charges, which were seen largely as a response to the Canadian arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on US warrants related to the company’s business deals in Iran. However, China has consistently denied that the cases were connected in any way.
Both Canadians were being tried in China, and Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison, while Kovrig was yet to be sentenced before his release.
Earlier on Friday, a B.C. judge dismissed the extradition case against Meng after US Justice Department officials reached a settlement to resolve criminal charges against him, Meng, who is a year-long chief geopolitical. has been at the center of the political matter, was allowed to enter. Leave Canada with a deferred prosecution agreement and under certain conditions.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes signed the acquittal order in Meng’s extradition case on Friday afternoon, allowing him to leave the country and ending a nearly three-year legal saga.
Granthshala News confirmed that Meng checked in at Vancouver International Airport and flew to China on Friday evening.
Holmes thanked Meng for his behavior during the hearing and released him from the bail conditions.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Meng thanked Holmes for “fairness” during the proceedings, as well as his lawyers, family and friends for helping him through this “difficult time”.
“I also commend the Canadian government for their professionalism to the Crown and upholding the rule of law,” Meng said. “I am also grateful to the Canadian people and media friends for your tolerance. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Over the past nearly three years, Meng said his life “turned upside down.”
“It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, a wife and a company executive. But it was truly an invaluable experience in my life. I will never forget all the well wishes I have received from people around the world. As As the saying goes, the greater the difficulty, the greater the growth,” Meng said.
Meng – who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei – has been under house arrest in Vancouver since she was first detained at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant related to the company’s business dealings in Iran.
Facing charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Meng has claimed her innocence throughout the process, and was fighting extradition through the Canadian courts.
The discharge of the extradition case comes after the Chinese telecommunications giant’s CFO appeared virtually in a New York courtroom on Friday morning and pleaded “not guilty” to all charges and signed a prosecution agreement postponed by a US judge.
“Meng made several misrepresentations to a senior executive of a financial institution in connection with Huawei’s business operations in Iran in an attempt to maintain Huawei’s banking ties with the financial institution … Meng’s admission of this financial fraud.” confirm the crux of the allegations of the Government in the prosecution,” read the statements, which gives in detail the agreed statement of facts in the case.
The judge allowed Meng to be released on a personal identification bond, with good behavior pending charges against him dismissed, until December 1, 2022, four years from the day he was detained at Vancouver International Airport. was taken. 2018.
“Meng has also agreed not to commit other federal, state or local crimes. If Meng breaches the agreement, she will be subject to prosecution of all charges against her in the third superseding indictment filed in this case,” read the statement. .
Following the verdict in B.C., Canada’s Justice Department issued a statement confirming that the US had dropped his extradition request.
“As a result, there is no ground to continue the extradition proceedings and the Justice Minister’s representative withdrew the right to proceed with the termination of the extradition proceedings. The judge released Meng Wanzhou of all his bail conditions. Meng Wanzhou’s Free to leave Canada,” the statement read.
The Justice Department said “Canada is a country of law” and Meng was given “a fair process before the courts in accordance with Canadian law.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. Lesco said in a statement that the US is “extremely grateful” to the Canadian Department of Justice “for its dedicated work on this extradition and its steadfast adherence to the rule of law”. “
Meng’s lawyer said in a statement The decision followed in the US that he was “very pleased” with the deal.
“We fully expect that the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice after fourteen months. Now, she will be free to return home to be with her family,” said William W. Taylor, III.
Canadian officials acting on a US request to detain Meng caused diplomatic tension between Canada and China in 2018, and relations have been strained over the years, resulting in a series of trade actions, and A rally of international allies took place in condemnation of China’s buck. International rule of law.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously dismissed suggestions that Canada should consider exchanging the two Canadians for Meng, citing the need to work the matter through the legal system.
This came after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman suggested in 2020 that Canada could affect the fate of Kovrig and Spavor by halting its attempt to extradite Meng, a departure from China’s persistent denial that the cases were related.