China sentences Canadian Michael Spavor to eleven years in prison for espionage

Michael Spavor’s detention was on trial “Arbitrary” by Canada, his conviction is characterized as“Unacceptable and unfair”. The Canadian consultant was sentenced Wednesday, August 11, to eleven years in prison for espionage.

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He was arrested in December 2018, in what is perceived in Canada as a retaliatory measure after the arrest a few days earlier in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, the financial director of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Michael Spavor has “Been found guilty of espionage and of stealing state secrets” and is “Sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment, confiscation of his personal property up to 50,000 yuan [6 600 euros] and expulsion “, said a court in Dandong (northeast), on the North Korean border, where the Canadian was tried in March 2021. It is not specified when this removal from Chinese territory will take place, but it should follow the end of the detention period.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the conviction and sentence“Unacceptable and unfair”. “Today’s verdict for Mr. Spavor comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the judicial process and a trial that did not even meet the minimum standards required by international law”, he said in a statement.

There is the possibility of appealing. This is something that [Michael Spavor] will discuss with his lawyers “Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China, previously said in a press statement in Dandong.

Tensions between Canada and China

Another Canadian, ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig, was also arrested and detained along with Michael Spavor on similar grounds of espionage. Justin Trudeau then denounced the “Arbitrary detention” of the two men and the ” lack of transparency “ Chinese authorities.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou was carried out at the request of the Americans, who suspect her of bank fraud and demand from Canada her extradition to the United States. China has not stopped denouncing a maneuver ever since ” Politics “ from Washington and calls on Ottawa to “Immediate release” of the leader. Beijing denies using the two imprisoned Canadians as bargaining chips.

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Is there a coincidence or a desire to put pressure on Ottawa? The sentence against Michael Spavor is announced as Meng Wanzhou appears until August 20 in a Canadian court for a final round of hearings devoted to his potential extradition. No decision on this subject is expected for a few months. In the event of an appeal, the procedure could also last several years.

The verdict against Michael Spavor is also delivered the day after the confirmation by the Chinese justice of the death penalty targeting Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, another Canadian convicted of drug trafficking.

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The World with AFP