China sentences Canadian to death for drug smuggling


In theory, it should be up to China's top court to decide whether a B.C. man should be sentenced to death after being found guilty of drug smuggling.

Thirty-six-year-old Robert Lloyd Schellenberg's new sentence was handed at an appeals court where prosecutors argued that his original sentence of 15 years was too light.

Schellenberg was told in court he had the right to appeal to Liaoning High Court within 10 days upon receiving the ruling, the intermediate court said in a second statement.

Kovrig was one of two Canadians detained in China days after the December 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL], in Vancouver, at the request of the United States. The organization called on Trudeau to press the Chinese government abandon any plans to carry out Schellenberg's death sentence.

China issued a travel advisory on Tuesday for Canada, urging Chinese citizens to exercise caution and "fully evaluate risks" and citing an "arbitrary detention" at the request of a "third-party country", Reuters reported.

In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg attends his retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in Dalian northeastern China's Liaoning province on Monday Jan. 14 2019
China sentences Canadian man to death in drug case linked to Huawei row

Schellenberg was detained more than four years ago and initially sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2016. Ltd., was arrested in Vancouver on a USA extradition warrant. Meng's detention has led to an escalation of tensions between Canada and China, which has accused the North American country of violating its human rights. But during the retrial, the court sided with the prosecution, which claimed to have uncovered new evidence proving Schellenberg's principal role in the case.

Trudeau expressed "extreme concern" that China had "chosen to arbitrarily" apply the death penalty.

Schellenberg's lawyer said on Monday he would appeal. We are all very heartbroken right now and we are all in shock.

The row was further aggravated when two Canadian citizens - Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor - were arrested in China, suspected of activities that Beijing said put the country's national security at risk.

Hua added that there was enough evidence against the 36-year-old Canadian who was part of an global syndicate and smuggled 222 kg of methamphetamine into China.

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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada has asked China to spare the life of a Canadian man facing a death sentence.

Ties between China and Canada are on a downward spiral after Ms. Meng's arrest. He was sentenced in 2018, according to the Globe and Mail.

The court said Schellenberg had conspired with others in an attempt to smuggle 222 kg (489.43 lbs.) of methamphetamine from China to Australia in late 2014.

"This really hurts China" and its efforts to promote its influence around the world, said David Zweig, a Canadian who directs the Center on China's Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Schellenberg's family said Tuesday that it wants all Canadians "to stand with us and pray" for his safe return.

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In recent weeks, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission - a regulatory body that oversees about 100 government-run companies - has told some firms to only take secure, company-issued laptops meant for overseas use if traveling is necessary, the people said.

It is unclear what he did between his release from prison - set for mid-2013 - and his involvement in the Chinese drug case.

In a move that observers see as retaliatory, Chinese authorities detained two Canadian citizens - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor - on suspicion of endangering national security.

The foreign minister said she spoke with Mr. Schellenberg's father in what she described as "a very emotional conversation for him".

McCallum, a former cabinet minister who was a vocal booster of Sino-Canadian tourism, said his top priority "is to do everything I can to get the two Michaels" released as quickly as possible.

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"Personally, I don't see a connection between these cases and Meng Wanzhou", he said.