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'Two Michaels' detained in China have hearings Friday and Monday

Last Updated Mar 17, 2021 at 3:25 pm PDT

Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians detained in China, are shown in these 2018 images taken from video. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

OTTAWA — Canada’s embassy in Beijing has been informed by Chinese officials that court hearings for Michael Spavor will begin on Friday. For Michael Kovrig, the hearings will begin on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau made the troubling announcement in a statement, calling their detentions “arbitrary” and says the “lack of transparency” around these proceedings is deeply troubling.

Canadian officials are seeking consular access to the “Two Michaels” and requested to attend the hearings.

Some experts say the setting trial dates is a serious development, noting China almost always completes the proceedings once they begin, and the conviction rate is more than 90 per cent.

Kovrig and Spavor were detained in December, 2018 in apparent retaliation to the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was taken into custody at YVR Airport on a U.S. extradition request.

The Biden administration has vowed to help Canada to try and secure freedom for the two men.