Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, accused of espionage, have been detained in China for two years.
Canada said it confirmed to Chinese authorities that detained citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were arrested in December 2018 shortly after Canada arrested a senior Huawei official on a US extradition warrant, “did not not yet tried ”.
The two men would have been “indicted and triedAt a regular briefing by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday afternoon.
But Canada told Al Jazeera that officials at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing spoke directly with the Chinese Foreign Ministry and “confirmed that, contrary to what was reported in the media this morning, there was no development in the case of Michael. Kovrig and Michael Spavor. “
He said the confusion was the result of an “inaccurate characterization of the process made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.”
“The two men were charged on June 19, but have not yet been tried,” spokeswoman Christelle Chartrand said in an email in response to questions.
Thursday marked two years since the detention of the two men. Both have been held without access to a lawyer or their families, and for months authorities have prevented even consular officials from visiting them, blaming the coronavirus.
Canada has made the release of Kovrig and Spavor a priority and has rejected Beijing’s insistence that their detentions are unrelated to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder. telecommunications, wanted in the United States for sanctions against Iran. “Violations.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Thursday denied any connection to Meng’s case and claimed that unlike Kovrig and Spavor’s detention, Meng’s arrest in Canada had been “a political affair” ever since. the beginning.
She said the two Canadians were “suspected of endangering China’s national security” and that their detention was lawful.
Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, lived in Hong Kong and worked as a senior adviser on Northeast Asia for Crisis Group when he was arrested, while Michael Spavor was a well-known entrepreneur doing business between China. and North Korea.
Diplomats and analysts suspect they have been detained in retaliation for Meng’s arrest and accuse China of “diplomacy hostage.”