A Chinese court is expected to rule as early as Wednesday in the case of imprisoned Canadian Michael Spavor, a Canadian source directly familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency.
Chinese authorities arrested Spavor, a businessman, in December 2018, days after Canada detained Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a United States extradition request. Fellow Canadian and political analyst Michael Kovrig was also arrested the same month.
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Both men were held mostly incommunicado for months before being charged with spying. Their trials took place in March.
The US and Canada have accused China of retaliating over Meng’s arrest, but Beijing insists the cases are not linked.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, has been living in one of her Vancouver mansions while she fights extradition to the US; a decision in her case is expected soon.
Spavor and Kovrig have had almost no contact with the outside world since they were arrested and minimal access to Chinese lawyers. Virtual consular visits resumed only in October after a nine-month hiatus which authorities said was necessary because of the coronavirus.
China’s courts, which the Communist Party controls, have a conviction rate of nearly 100 percent.
The possible decision in Spavor’s case comes as a Chinese court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Robert Schellenberg, a Canadian sentenced to death for drug smuggling.
Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, condemned the ruling and called for clemency.
Barton added that it was “not a coincidence” that China announced the results of Schellenberg’s appeal while the case involving Meng was ongoing in Canada.