Canadian prime minister says China not respecting diplomatic immunity in arrest case

  • China arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on vague national security allegations.
  • “It is unfortunate that China has arbitrarily and unfairly detained two Canadian citizens, and indeed in one of the cases is not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity,” Trudeau said.
  • Canadian authorities haven’t previously said Kovrig was protected by diplomatic immunity, but Trudeau asserted that Friday.

CNBC News
Date: 11 Jan 2019
By: The Associated Press

Martin Ouellet-Diotte | AFP | Getty Images
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a meeting in Montreal on Dec. 7, 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Chinese officials are not respecting the diplomatic immunity of one of the Canadians detained in China last month as he ramped up efforts to get them released.

China arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on vague national security allegations.

The arrests came after a top Chinese executive was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 at the request of Washington, which wants Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou extradited to face charges that she misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. She is out on bail in Canada and awaiting a bail extradition proceeding next month.

Kovrig is an analyst on northeast Asia for the International Crisis Group think tank who took a leave of absence from the Canadian government.

Canadian authorities haven’t previously said he was protected by diplomatic immunity. But Trudeau asserted that Friday.

“It is unfortunate that China has arbitrarily and unfairly detained two Canadian citizens, and indeed in one of the cases is not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau asserted diplomatic immunity in both French and English answers to a question but did not elaborate on why Kovrig is entitled to it.      [FULL  STORY]

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