Two Canadians for a Chinese girl: a year after, the conditions of detention at the antipodes


One is under house arrest in his villa in Vancouver and the other two, according to sources close to the matter, are held in conditions very rudimentary. A year later, the conditions of detention of two Canadians’s arrested in China have nothing to do with those of the leader of Huawei, claimed by the United States.


On December 1, 2018, the financial director of the giant chinese telecoms, Meng Wanzhou, was’s arrested at the Vancouver airport at the request of Washington, who is suspected of having violated year embargo to Iran.


The case has triggered a major crisis between China and Canada, which requires the release from its nationality, and has put Ottawa on guard against his extradition to the United States.


Nine days later, on 10 December, the Canadians Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and businessman Michael Spavor were’s arrested in China by the State police.


Officially, Beijing has never made the link between the two boxes, but for Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, the dimension “politics” of the arrest of his two compatriots, no doubt.


According to experts, their fate is linked to that of Meng Wanzhou, covered by an extradition request from Washington, that will be the subject of a hearing on the merits next month. The procedure could last for years.


Electronic Bracelet


In the meantime, Ms. Meng, who is none other than the daughter of the founder of Huawei, world number two mobile phone, is under house arrest in one of his mansions in Vancouver. She wears out her to the ankle with an electronic bracelet which allows him to move in the metropolis of the canadian West.


Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, themselves, have had to undergo hours of interrogation and, during the first months of their detention, had to sleep in cells where the light is never extinguished, according to sources close to the matter.


If Ms. Meng has been able to appear on several occasions before the canadian court, defended by an army of lawyers, “the two Michael” waited five months to be formally placed under arrest for espionage.


They have still not been charged, which, according to Mr. Saint-Jacques, may suggest that Beijing reserves the right to release in case of arrest proceedings against Meng Wanzhou.


The use of Michael Kovrig, the think-tank International Crisis Group (ICG), says that he has nothing to apologize for.


“No need to be a legal expert to guess why he was’s arrested,” said in a press release the president of the ICG, Robert Malley.


According to him, the former diplomat, who worked in Hong Kong, was frequently invited to mainland China for official contacts.


“We cannot in any case be described as hostile to China “, he says.


About Michael Spavor, which was established in the north-east of China, he organized trips to North Korea, including for the american star basketball Dennis Rodman. He was received by the north Korean leader Kim Jong One.


Their conditions of detention “are not good, especially if one compares them with those of Ms. Meng,” said Guy Saint-Jacques to the AFP.


A 15-minute walk


At 47 years old, the head of Huawei, which receives the visit of his mother and of her husband, seems to benefit from a forced vacation to relax, as she explained last week in an open letter to his supporters.


“The time runs slowly. I even have the time to read books from the first page to the last. I can discuss trifles with colleagues, and complete with care year oil painting “, she says.


By contrast, the two Canadians have no access to their lawyers gold their about, and have contact with representatives of their embassy, once a month and for half a year hour. They read aloud the message from their family, according to sources close to the matter.


According to the saami people, Michael Kovrig had no books during the first weeks of his detention.


Now, he is sharing in Beijing a cell with a dozen of people, while Michael Spavor did the same in Dandong, a border city of North Korea, according to Mr. Saint-Jacques.


They are entitled to a 15-minute walk per day.


Michael Kovrig request to its canadian visitors, ” When are you going to get me out of this mess? “according to the former ambassador.


“But the message which periodically returns to Beijing is that while Canada has not returned Ms. Meng in China, the conditions will not improve. “



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