Canadian Robert Schellenberg Sentenced To Death In China In Drug-Smuggling Case

A general view of the Intermediate People's Court of Dalian in Liaoning province China Jan. 14 2019

Two other Chinese men have been involved in this case - one has sentenced to life imprisonment, another handed a suspended death sentence.

A Chinese court has sentenced a Canadian man to death in a drug smuggling case.

While reviewing the appeal, Liaoning province's high court argued that the Canadian had been part of an worldwide drug smuggling operation and ruled that the initial punishment was too lenient, considering the crimes that he had committed.

A report published on Monday by the Dalian court said Schellenberg directed a translator he hired in 2014 to carry out a series of activities, including the purchase of vehicle tyres to hide the methamphetamine for smuggling purposes.

The 36-year-old said he was a tourist in China when he was duped by a man he believed was a translator and got caught in the scheme to smuggle methamphetamines, the Globe and Mail reported.

"This is a case about Xu Qing, he is an worldwide drug smuggler and a liar", Schellenberg told the court. I am not a drug user.

"The court will later announce more detailed information on the trial", Xinhua said.

A general view of the Intermediate People's Court of Dalian, where the trial for Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen on drug smuggling charges, was held in Liaoning province, China.

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Schellenberg was detained by Chinese authorities back in 2014, accused of being instrumental to drug smuggling within the country as well as having connections to global drug trafficking, the South China Morning Post reported.

"After verifying the evidence, the court determined that the case is strong and Schellenberg is the principal culprit", the report said.

Canadian embassy officials and three foreign journalists, including from AFP, were given rare access to his retrial, which comes against the backdrop of the Chinese government's anger over the arrest in Canada of a top executive from telecom giant Huawei last month.

Schellenberg's family said they anxious China would use him as a bargaining chip following Meng's arrest.

In earlier interviews, Schellenberg's aunt Lauri Nelson-Jones said she was concerned that increasing tensions between Beijing and Ottawa could mean a tougher sentence for her nephew.

One plausible explanation was that China wanted to show Canada it was "deadly - literally deadly - serious about getting Meng Wanzhou released", Clarke said.

Chinese authorities have since detained two Canadian nationals - a former diplomat and a business consultant - on suspicion of endangering national security, a move seen as an act of retaliation over the Huawei executive's arrest. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized China for "not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity" in Kovrig's arrest.

"You can ask these (critics) which laws the relevant Chinese judicial organs and departments have violated by (ordering a retrial)", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing on Friday.

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