OTTAWA – A group of legislators from Canada on a visit to China pressed authorities on Monday to release two men who were detained last month but had little success, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported.
Ottawa is demanding that China immediately free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were picked up after Canadian authorities arrested a senior Chinese executive on a U.S. arrest warrant in early December.
Sen. Joseph Day, one of the Canadian legislators, said the group had reiterated the government’s concerns in what he called a very frank meeting with Chinese officials in Shanghai.
“The gist of the message is that the executive branch of Canada has asked for their immediate release,” Day told the CBC after the encounter.
“They haven’t been informed of what charges there might be against them, they haven’t had open access to their lawyers. We told them (the Chinese side) that by any international standard that is not fair,” he added.
Day said Chinese officials had demanded to know why Canadian police had arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in early December. Canada said it was acting on a U.S. request.
Asked whether the talks had improved the prospects of the two detained Canadians, Day relied: “I think the fact we had an open and frank discussion … creates opportunities.”
The Canadian visit was arranged before Meng’s detention.
The office of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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