Dec 08, 2019

By Jeremy Logan

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The head of the Washington-based International Crisis Group says his employee Michael Kovrig is trying to hold on to a sense of humour as he and fellow countryman Michael Spavor approach one year in solitary confinement in China.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian Micahel Spavor. (AP)

Kovrig and Spavor have been imprisoned in China since last December 10th.

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou on December first of last year.

The chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies was arrested at the request of the United States, which wants her extradited to face fraud charges for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran.

Meng is out on bail and living in a luxury Vancouver home, as her extradition hearing remains before a B.C. court.

Crisis Group president Robert Malley says he wishes Meng no ill, will but that there’s no comparison between how she and Kovrig and Spavor are being treated.

The Canadians have been allowed about one consular visit per month by Canadian diplomats, but they have been denied access to lawyers and all others.

Malley says Kovrig is showing uncommon resilience as he lives in isolation, deprived of contact from his loved ones.

He says the way Kovrig is reacting is nothing short of extraordinary.

Without offering details, he says Kovrig is – quote –  “Maintaining his sense of humour, his sense of perspective, his desire to remain interested in things that are going on around the world.”

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