Crime & Justice

Closed-door spy trial of Canadian in China ends after 2 hours without verdict

Beijing, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- The trial of Canadian national Michael Spavor, who has been detained in China for more than two years on espionage charges, ended without a verdict after two hours in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong on Friday.

It was held in a closed courtoom with diplomats from Canada and several other countries denied access to the proceedings, according to tweets by reporters outside the court.

The Dandong Intermediate People’s Court later released a statement saying it would deliver its verdict at a later date.

The trial of another Canadian citizen, former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who has also been in detention in China since December 2018 on espionage charges, will begin on Monday, Canada’s foreign ministry had said on Wednesday.

In June 2020, China accused businessman Spavor of “spying on state secrets and illegally providing them to overseas forces” and Kovrig “of spying on state secrets and intelligence.”

The Two Michaels, as they are popularly known, have been held in isolation with restricted visits by Canadian consular officials, according to the US media reports.

At the time of his arrest, Kovrig was in China working for the nonprofit International Crisis Group, which China said then was not registered according to its laws. Spavor is the founder of a company that specializes in tours to North Korea.

The two Canadians were detained shortly after the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the Huawei founder and the company’s Chief Financial Officer, at the request of the United States.

Beijing denies the detentions are linked to the arrest of Meng.

She was arrested during a layover in Canada on a trip to Mexico after Washington requested her extradition for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran.

The extradition proceedings are currently underway in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific coast.

Meng, whose release has been repeatedly demanded by Beijing, is out on bail but is not allowed to leave Canada. She is living with her family in one of the two mansions she owns in Vancouver. EFE-EPA


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