Michael Spavor: Canadian businessman jailed for 11 years in China for espionage

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Michael Spavor: Canadian businessman jailed for 11 years in China for espionage


China has sentenced a Canadian businessman to 11 years in prison after convicting him of espionage.

Michael Spavor was stopped in 2018 alongside Canadian diplomat Michael Korvig, who is still awaiting the verdict in his case.

Spavor was convicted “for the crime of espionage and illegal supply of state secrets abroad”, a court in Dandong, northeast China, noted.

He will also have 50,000 yuan (£ 5,580) in personal property and face deportation, he added.

Beijing-based attorney Mo Shaoping told Reuters that deportation to China usually takes place after a person has finished serving their sentence, but may take place earlier in special cases.

It comes amid a diplomatic row between China and Canada on the extradition of Meng Wanzhou – a senior executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei – in the United States.

Canadian prime minister Justin trudeau called the Spavor case “absolutely unacceptable and unfair”.

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Justin Trudeau said Spavor’s trial did not meet international legal standards

He said: “Mr. Spavor’s verdict comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process and a trial that has failed even to meet the minimum standards required by international law. “

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing also condemned the Spavor and Korvig cases, saying it was an attempt by China to “use human beings as a lever for negotiation.”

Spavor was originally detained in 2018 before being charged with espionage in June 2019.

He underwent a one-day trial in March this year, but no verdict or conviction was delivered until Wednesday.

Korvig was also tried in March, but no date has been set for a sentencing hearing.

Canada’s Ambassador to China Dominic Barton visited him after the verdict this week, saying he had three messages to the world: “Thank you all for your support. I’m in a good mood. I want to go back home.

Diplomats from 25 countries gathered at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, and Mr. Barton added, “Our collective presence and voice sends a strong signal to China, and to the Chinese government in particular, that all eyes of the world are watching. “

China has a criminal conviction rate of over 99%, with trials hardly accessible to the public or the media.

Chinese authorities are making a final push to prevent the United States from extraditing Meng from his house arrest in Canada.

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China warned of unspecified consequences unless Meng Wanzhou is released

China has rejected the suggestion that Spavor and Korvig’s cases are linked to Meng’s case in Canada, but Beijing warned of unspecified consequences unless she is released.

Meng has been accused of misleading HSBC Holdings PLC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, which could lead the bank to violate US economic sanctions against Tehran.

Meng, who said she was innocent, is due to make a final decision in the coming months.

Since his arrest at Vancouver International Airport in 2018, four Canadians have been sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

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Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death this week in China

This week Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death after being convicted of complicity in drug trafficking.

Canadian citizens Fan Wei, Ye Jianhui and Xu Weihong suffered the same fate in Chinese courts.

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