Canada's Michael Spavor says he is 'overjoyed' to reunite with family after China release

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, accompanied by Canada's Ambassador to China, Domenic Barton, are greeted on their arrival in Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, accompanied by Canada's Ambassador to China, Domenic Barton, are greeted on their arrival in Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA (REUTERS) - Canadian citizen Michael Spavor expressed joy on Friday (Oct 1) at being reunited with his family after being released from jail in China last week.

“I’m overjoyed to be finally reunited with my family. It’s humbling as I begin to understand the continued support that we’ve received from Canadians and those around the world, thank you,” Spavor said in a first statement since his release.

Businessman Spavor and Canadian former diplomat Michael Kovrig were released last week after being detained by Chinese authorities just days after Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Vancouver in December 2018.

They were released within hours of Meng reaching a deal with US prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her, after being held for more than 1,000 days.

Beijing has denied that their arrests were linked.

Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced in August to 11 years in jail.

Kovrig had been awaiting sentencing. The two men’s families have said they were innocent.