Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on their way back to Canada after being detained in China for nearly three years.

Trudeau told a news conference Friday evening on Parliament Hill that Kovrig and Spavor, who have become known in Canada and around the world as the “two Michaels,” were on a plane that left China, accompanied by Canadian ambassador Dominic Barton.

The Huawei executive was originally detained in Vancouver in December 2018 at the behest of the U.S., where a 13-count grand jury indictment accused the company and Meng, the daughter of the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei, of misrepresenting their ownership of Hong Kong-based subsidiary Skycom between 2007 and 2017 in order to circumvent American sanctions on Iran.

Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government earlier Friday, setting off a quick chain of events that saw her extradition case dropped by a B.C. court and concluded with her departure from the Vancouver airport, also about 7:30 p.m. ET.

“These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal,” Trudeau said in Ottawa. “For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace.”

Spavor and Kovrig boarded their flight at about 7:30 p.m. ET, Trudeau said. They are being accompanied by Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China.

Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government earlier Friday, setting off a quick chain of events that saw her extradition case dropped by a B.C. court and concluded with her departure from the Vancouver airport, also about 7:30 p.m. ET.

China has insisted throughout the legal saga that Spavor and Kovrig were arrested on legitimate grounds, but the timing of their release is sure to bolster Ottawa’s argument that the two men were arbitrarily detained.

Trudeau deflected questions about what the development will mean for the strained relationship between Canada and China. He also did not answer exactly how their release came about.

“There is going to be time for analysis and reflection in the coming days and weeks, but the fact of the matter is, I know Canadians will be incredibly happy to know right now, this Friday night, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on a plane and they’re coming home,” he told reporters in Parliament’s West Block building.

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