Kevin Garratt, the Canadian man held in China for two years on suspicion of spying, arrived back in Canada Thursday following a court ruling granting his release.
Garratt was arrested, along with his wife Julia, in August 2014 in Dandong, a city that borders North Korea. The Garratts had operated a Christian coffee shop in the city since 2008.
Julia was released in February 2015 but Kevin was later charged with stealing secrets and espionage for Canadian intelligence agencies.
Their family denied accusations the couple had been involved in espionage in any way.
The release of Garratt come a week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first official visit to China.
During that visit, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held a joint press conference with Trudeau expressing that a Canadian citizen being held for spying would be treated humanely and in “strict accordance to the law.”
James Zimmerman, the Beijing based lawyer for the Garratts thanked the Canadian government for their help leading up to his release.
“The family appreciates the strong, persistent efforts of the Canadian government to secure Kevin’s release,” Zimmerman wrote.
Garrett arrived at Vancouver International Airport Thursday and was greeted by his family. In a statement his family thanked those involved in granting his release and everyone for their thoughts and prayers. They also requested “respect for their privacy in this time of transition.”