In triumph for Trudeau, China frees Canadian detained for years

Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:05am EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Kevin Garratt, a Canadian held in China for two years and charged with spying, returned to Canada on Thursday in what was a diplomatic triumph for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Canadian leader had raised Garratt's case during an official visit to China this month when he both pressed for closer economic ties and openly discussed human rights, which is a sensitive matter in Beijing.

"On Thursday, September 15th, Kevin was deported from China and has returned to Canada to be with his family and friends," the family said in a statement requesting privacy.

A Canadian government official said Garratt had been formally sentenced earlier in the week and then released on bail. He flew into the Pacific city of Vancouver.

In a statement, Trudeau said he was delighted that Garratt had returned safely.

Garratt and his wife, Julia, were detained in August 2014 near China's border with North Korea. He was charged with spying and stealing state secrets.

Julia, who was not charged, was released on bail and left the country.

A source close to the case, who requested anonymity because of its sensitivity, said Garratt was tried on April 20.   Continued...

Kevin Garratt, a Canadian held in China for two years on suspicion of spying, hugs his wife Julia Garratt after being deported by Chinese authorities, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in this handout picture taken and released by the Garratt family September 15, 2016.  Courtesy of the Garratt Family/Handout via Reuters