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Canada says 13 nationals detained in China since arrest of Huawei executive

The thirteen include former diplomat Michael Kovrig and consultant Michael Spavor, arrested on December 10, for activities said to threaten national security

AFP | PTI  |  Ottawa 

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Thirteen Canadians have been detained in following the arrest on December 1 of a senior executive from Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei, Ottawa said Thursday, with eight subsequently released.

spokesperson Guillaume Berube confirmed the detentions to AFP, adding the figures excluded Hong Kong.

The thirteen include former diplomat Michael Kovrig and consultant Michael Spavor, arrested on December 10, for activities said to threaten national security, as well as Sarah McIver, who was subsequently freed and returned to

There are approximately 200 Canadians overall who have been detained in for a variety of alleged infractions and continue to face ongoing legal proceedings, and the number has remained relatively stable in recent years.

By way of comparison, there are almost 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the US. Some observers believe the detentions of Kovrig, who works for the Crisis Group, and Spavor, who is frequently consulted on matters linked to North Korea, were retaliatory actions following the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the United States.

Washington has accused her of fraud for helping evade US sanctions against Iran. She was later released on bail pending her extradition hearing.

Backed by the US and several European countries, Canada's foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has repeated called for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor, whose arrests Ottawa has termed arbitrary.

First Published: Fri, January 04 2019. 08:55 IST
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