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China frees Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

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OTTAWA — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on a return flight to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday evening.

News that China had freed the men was announced shortly after Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou left Vancouver for China after reaching a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors.

“They boarded at about 7:30 p.m. Ottawa time along with Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China,” Trudeau told reporters at a late evening press conference. “These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace and we are all inspired by them.”

The two Canadians have been detained by Chinese authorities since December 2018 over espionage charges. Their arrests were widely seen as a retaliatory tactic from Beijing in response to Meng’s arrest by Canadian authorities at Vancouver International Airport nine days earlier.

As part of the country’s extradition treaty, Canadian police had been carrying out an American warrant for her arrest related to fraud allegations.

The extradition case was officially dropped Friday.

With Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau beside him, the prime minister alluded that more details would come later.........

© Politico

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