B.C. man who was wrongfully jailed in China offers advice to the 2 Michaels upon their return
A B.C. man who was wrongfully jailed in China back in 2014 is offering his advice to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor upon their return to Canada.
Entrepreneurs and Christian aid workers, Kevin and Julia Garratt had lived in China for 30 years when they were arrested at accused of spying by Chinese authorities on Aug. 4, 2014.
The two were arrested while exiting a restaurant. Julia would spend six months in jail, while Kevin was incarcerated for nearly two years.
"I'm thinking, ‘How did they get this so wrong?’" said Kevin.
Little did he know, back in Canada, Chinese man Su Bin had been arrested and accused of stealing data of American military projects. Bin would later be extradited to the U.S. and plead guilty to the charges brought against him.
Like the two Michaels, who were jailed for nearly three years in apparent retaliation for Canada’s detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States, Kevin and Julia were seemingly arrested on bogus charges because the Chinese government wanted to make a point.
The couple would eventually be returned home to Canada in 2017.
Like many Canadians, Kevin was relieved to see the two Michaels heading home Friday, but relief wasn’t the only emotion he was feeling.
"It brought back all the memories,” he said. “All the memories of sitting in that cell for two years.”
Kevin says it took him about a year and a half to adapt back to his normal lifestyle. He encourages Kovrig and Spavor to take it slow.
“It’s going to take them some time to readjust,” he said. “They’ve lived a little confined environment for such a long time.”
Garratt says it was the little things that helped him get back to normal.
“Take time to walk in the park, take time with coffee with friends,” he said. “Don’t jump back to work or a write a book. Do that in time.”
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