Two Canadians imprisoned by China have been released, Prime Minister Trudeau says


“These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal for the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by that,” said Trudeau at a late evening news conference in Ottawa.

Trudeau would not discuss details about how their release came about but he thanked Canadian allies for their support.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been held in China since late 2018. They were arrested on espionage charges in China shortly after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant related to the company’s business dealings in Iran. However, China has consistently denied that the cases were in any way connected.

Earlier Friday, the United States Department of Justice and Meng reached an agreement to defer prosecution of US charges against her until late 2022, after which point the charges could be dropped.

The US case centered on whether Meng misled HSBC bank about Huawei’s relationship with an Iranian subsidiary, Skycom, which the US alleges would have violated US sanctions against Iran.

Meng appeared virtually in a court in Brooklyn, New York, and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud.

However, as part of the deal, Meng confirmed the statement of facts in the deferred prosecution agreement are true. Those facts include that she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with Skycom to HSBC, according to court documents. If she says or implies otherwise, it could violate the terms of the deal and result in her prosecution.

CNN affiliate CTV News says it has confirmed that Meng left Canada aboard a private jet Friday evening.

— This is a developing story. More to come —

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