China has formally arrested two Canadians – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – detained more than five months ago and accused them of state secrets violations, reported the Financial Times.
Kovrig, a former diplomat who worked for the International Crisis Group, is being accused of spying and gathering intelligence on state secrets. Spavor, who arranged tours into North Korea, was accused of stealing and illegally providing state secrets to overseas. The two Canadians were detained in China shortly after Canada arrested Chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou late last year.
The state secrets accusations keep the two men under the purview of security apparatus, walled off from the relative transparency of China’s normal criminal procedures.
Meng Wanzhou is currently fighting extradition from Canada to the US on charges that her company violated US sanctions on Iran. China has frozen most contacts with Canadian diplomats and blocked shipments of canola, one of Canada’s most important export crops, in order to pressure the country to release Meng, who is also the founder’s daughter.