Families mark 1,000 days since detention of Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor


The families of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are organizing a march to mark 1,000 days of the two men's detention.

Michael Spavor, left, and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig are in Chinese custody, both having been charged with spying.(The Associated Press/International Crisis Group/The Canadian Press)

It's been 1,000 days since Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in China.

The families of the men, along with friends and supporters, are marking the event with a march in Ottawa this morning.

The march will leave from Windsor Park and end in Major's Hill Park, and those who join the walk are being urged to walk 7,000 steps, the same number Michael Kovrig's wife, Vina Nadjibulla, says he walks in his cell every day.

"Every day in his cell, Michael Kovrig walks 7,000 steps to keep his mind and body healthy. Michael Spavor uses yoga, meditation, and exercises to stay strong," the families wrote on a Facebook page promoting the event.

Kovrig and Spavor were both detained in December 2018, following the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

Both men were charged with espionage. Spavor has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Michael Kovrig has yet to be sentenced.

Spavor's sentence came after "more than 2½ years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said on Aug. 10, when the decision was announced.

Meng Wanzhou's arrest was prompted by a U.S. extradition order, and the ensuing case is awaiting a decision by B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes.

The Canadian government has denounced the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor as politically motivated. The Chinese government has countered by arguing that Wanzhou's arrest was itself politically motivated.

Icy relationship with China

The Trudeau government has said the safe return of the two men to Canada remains a top priority for the country. Following the Spavor sentencing, Garneau said the government was engaged in high-level conversations with China over the issue of the two men's return home.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, taking a harder line on Canada's relationship with China, has criticized the government's approach to the issue.

O'Toole has raised the possibility of a boycott of next year's winter games in Beijing and urged the Canadian government to work more closely with its allies on the issue.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has said the government should use every resource available to save the men detained in China.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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