Newspaper article The Canadian Press

U.S. Lawmakers Decry 'Abusive' Imprisonment of Two Canadians in China

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

U.S. Lawmakers Decry 'Abusive' Imprisonment of Two Canadians in China

Article excerpt

U.S. lawmakers say imprisoned Canadians abused

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OTTAWA - U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives are being asked to condemn the "abusive" imprisonment of two Canadian men in China.

China imprisoned former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor in December, little more than a week after the RCMP's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on an American warrant.

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng and prosecute her for allegedly lying to banks to avoid U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The motion introduced in the lower house of the U.S. Congress praises Canada for upholding the rule of law in arresting Meng.

The motion also calls for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor and for "due process" in the case of a third Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, who had a previous prison sentence for drug smuggling upgraded to death earlier this year.

The motion will be sent to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs before the full House votes on it later.

In May, the U.S. Senate tabled a similar resolution in support of Kovrig and Spavor that won rare unanimous approval.

The House resolution says Kovrig and Spavor "have faced harsh conditions while in detention that include limited consular access, no access to a lawyer, being unable to turn off the lights at night, and lengthy interrogations, including in the case of Mr. Kovrig, about his official activities during his previous tenure as an accredited diplomat in the People's Republic of China."

That treatment amounts to a potential violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the motion says.

The motion asks the House to express "concern over the Government of the People's Republic of China's apparent arbitrary detention and abusive treatment of Canadian nationals Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in apparent retaliation for the Government of Canada's detention of Meng Wanzhou. …

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