© Reuters. Klein, acting deputy head of the US Embassy in Beijing, and Nickel, in charge of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, stand outside Beijing’s No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court
By Yew Lun Tian
BEIJING (Reuters) – Canadian Michael Kovrig’s trial, who has been detained in China for more than two years on espionage charges, is ended in a closed courtroom in Beijing on Monday with a verdict will was announced on an indefinite date later, according to state media.
China detained Kovrig, a former diplomat and Canadian counterpart Michael Spavor in December 2018, shortly after Canadian police arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies. , by order of America.
Beijing insists the arrests have nothing to do with the detention of Ms. Meng, who remains under house arrest in Vancouver while she fights extradition to the United States. Beijing has repeatedly called on Ottawa to release her.
Kovrig’s trial comes just days after the United States raised concerns about the cases at tense talks with China in Alaska. On Monday, Canada and other diplomats were denied participation in the hearing.
William Klein, in charge of the US Embassy in China, told reporters outside the court while standing next to his Canadian counterpart that the United States would treat the two men’s cases “as if they were citizens. America.”
Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said “the world’s eyes are on these cases” and thanked his international partners for their support.
As a show of solidarity, 28 diplomats from 26 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, appeared outside Beijing’s No. 2 Intermediate Court on Monday. Monday, where there are crowded police presence.
“We are deeply concerned about the complete lack of transparency surrounding these hearings, and we continue to work to immediately end their arbitrary detention,” Garneau said in a statement.
Chinese state media CCTV reported that Kovrig and his lawyer were in court and that the ruling, like the one for Spavor, who was on trial on Friday, will be announced on a day later.
Jim Nickel, in charge of the Canadian embassy in China, told reporters outside the Beijing court: “We have requested continuous access to Michael Kovrig’s hearing but that access is being denied. “For national security reasons. “We now find that the court process itself is not transparent. We are very puzzled by this.”
Nickel said Canada would oppose the inaccessibility to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We are here to show solidarity. Arbitrary detention is not the way,” one diplomat told Reuters, declining to be named because she was not authorized to speak in court records. .
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the Canadian side had gathered a group of diplomats to “point out” and was “intentionally interfering with China’s judicial sovereignty”.
More than 50 countries signed a statement in February condemning the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes.
Several diplomats took off their masks while taking group photos outside the courthouse, each shouting which country they represent to help reporters identify them.
On Friday, Spavor, a businessman, also appeared in court in a closed courtroom in the northeastern city of Dandong.
Canadian diplomats and other diplomats were not allowed to attend the Spavor trial because of what China said was a national security facility, a lack of transparency that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. Six called “completely unacceptable”.
Observers argue that the two men ‘probabilities of being convicted could eventually facilitate a diplomatic deal, in which they are released and sent back to Canada.
Chinese courts have a conviction rate of more than 99%.
“Michael and Michael Spavor are innocent Canadians caught up in a larger geopolitical dispute,” Kovrig’s wife, Vina Nadjibulla, told Reuters.
“Their detention is extremely unfair and we must focus on securing their freedom.”
Spavor’s trial came as the United States and China held heated high-level talks in Alaska. A senior Biden administration official said the United States raised the issue during the talks, including fears that diplomats were banned from the courtroom during the Spavor trial.