Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on the way home after being released by Chinese authorities, almost three years after they were detained.
“About 12 minutes ago, the aircraft carrying Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, left Chinese airspace and they are on their way home. They boarded at about 7:30 pm Ottawa time along with Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a press conference this evening.
Trudeau further added “These two men have gone through unbelievably difficult ordeal for the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, 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 they could, and supporting us in the work we have done to secure their release,” Trudeau said, adding that “I want to thank the countless diplomatic and other Canadian officials who have been tireless over the past 2 and half years to secure the return of these two Canadians.”
He also added “I want to thank our allies and partners around the world and the international community who stood steadfast in solidarity with Canada ad with these two Canadians. And finally, I want to thank the Canadians who have kept them in out thoughts and remained determined in the core value the Canadians have of standing up for each other and looking out for each other.”
Spavor and Kovrig were arrested by the Chinese authorities in 2018, a move which was described as ‘hostage diplomacy’ with the critics criticizing China for treating the two Canadians as bargaining chips.
A Chinese Court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in jail and extradition in August while Kovrig was not sentenced despite his trial concluded in March.
Prime Minister Trudeau informed regarding the release of the two Canadian citizens hours after the Chinese tech executive Meng Wangzhou reportedly left Canada.
Earlier on Friday, a B.C. court discharged the extradition case against Meng after the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had reached a deferred prosecution agreement with her.