Charity worker released after two years held in China over ‘spying’ claims

A charity worker has been reunited with his family in Canada after being held for two years in China on suspicion of spying. Kevin Garratt, who was detained in 2014 along with his wife, Julia Dawn, was freed after a court in Dandong ruled on his case. “Kevin… has returned to Canada to be with his family and friends,” the statement said. It was not clear what was the verdict of the court and China insisted on Friday he was dealt with appropriately. However, his release comes weeks after prime minister Justin Trudeau made his first official visit to China where he said he pressed officials for an explanation.

The Garratt family thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers, and also thanks the many individuals who worked to secure Kevin’s release

Kevin Garratt’s family

Before their arrests, Mr Garratt and his wife, both Christians, ran a coffee shop in Dandong and were active in helping send humanitarian aid to impoverished North Korea. The authorities apparently feared they were acting as spies for the Canadian government - but their family dismissed the allegations as absurd and Ms Dawn was released in February. On Friday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Mr Garratt had been treated “according to law.” It said China “fully guaranteed all kinds of procedural rights of Kevin Garratt, and fully respected and implemented the consular rights of the Canadian side”. But it declined to say what investigators found or what the outcome of the trial was.

We are delighted that Kevin Garratt has returned safely to Canada and is with his family once more. The government of Canada has been seized of this case at the highest levels

Prime minister Justin Trudeau