Canada on Wednesday slammed China’s sentencing of businessman Michael Spavor to 11 years in jail on spying charges, calling for his immediate release.
Mr. Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, were both detained in 2018, in cases dubbed by Canada as “hostage diplomacy”. Their detentions in China shortly followed Canada’s arrest of top Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou at Vancouver airport, based on a U.S. warrant accusing the Chinese telecom company of violating Iran sanctions. The case of Ms. Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is ongoing and she is facing extradition to the U.S. if found guilty, with a verdict expected in coming weeks.
The 11-year sentence for Mr. Spavor came a day after another court in China upheld a death sentence for a Canadian accused of drug smuggling, in another case seen by Canadian officials as linked to Ms. Meng’s case. Robert Schellenberg had been arrested in 2014 and later sentenced to 15 years in prison. The verdict was changed to a death sentence in early 2019, also shortly after Ms. Meng’s arrest.
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