Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have landed in Canada, the Star has confirmed.
The pair were greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the tarmac of Calgary International Airport early Saturday morning.
Kovrig and Spavor’s arrival back in Canada follows the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on Friday, hours after U.S. prosecutors dropped an extradition warrant and permitted Canada to release her.
A Canadian official said the former Chinese detainees landed in Calgary because that is where Spavor’s family is. Kovrig will continue onto Toronto shortly, which is where his family is.
Kovrig and Spavor flew back with Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China, according to reports. Spavor’s family met him at the airport. They landed at 5:40 a.m. Calgary time (7:40 a.m. ET).
Trudeau flew to Calgary Friday night after his news conference announcing their release.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau accompanied Trudeau to greet Spavor, a businessman, and Kovrig, who was a Canadian diplomat on leave and working with the International Crisis Group when he was arrested by Chinese authorities.
Kovrig and Spavor were flown to Calgary on a Canadian government plane.
Kovrig’s employer, the International Crisis Group, released a statement on Friday following Spavor and Kovrig’s release.
“Crisis Group is hugely grateful to many people who have worked tirelessly in support of Michael,” the statement read. “We would like to extend our deep appreciation and admiration for Vina Nadjibullah, Michael’s wife, and Michael’s other family members for their brave and unstinting pursuit of his freedom.”
“Over more than two and a half years in jail, Michael has confronted tragedy with fortitude and humanity. Despite suffering injustice and hardship, he has stayed strong and positive. He maintained throughout his confinement his grace and humour, as well as a vigorous exercise routine and voracious appetite for reading and discovery.”
More to come.