Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on their way back to Canada after being detained in China for nearly three years.
Trudeau told a news conference tonight on Parliament Hill that Kovrig and Spavor, who have become known in Canada and around the world as the “two Michaels,” were on a plane that left China, accompanied by Canadian ambassador Dominic Barton.
The news comes hours after Meng Wanzhou walked freely out of a British Columbia Supreme Court, when a judge agreed to a discharge order that withdrew a U.S. extradition request against her.
The discharge follows a virtual appearance by Meng in a New York courtroom where she pleaded not guilty to all charges and the judge signed off on a deferred prosecution agreement.
The Huawei executive was originally detained in Vancouver in December 2018 at the behest of the U.S., where she faced charges related to American sanctions against Iran, and then Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China days later in apparent retaliation.
China has publicly maintained that there is no connection between her case and the men’s imprisonment but has also dropped broad hints that if she were allowed to go free, that could benefit the two Canadians.