Canadian is sentenced to DEATH in China for drug trafficking as court changes original 15-year jail sentence amid ongoing tensions between Beijing and Ottawa over arrest of Huawei exec

Monday, January 14, 2019
By Paul Martin

Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was tried today in an intermediate court
His case has been in the spotlight after a Chinese exec was arrested in Canada
He had been sentenced 15 years in prison, but high court deemed it ‘too lenient’
The court said he tried to smuggle 222kg of crystal meth from China to Australia
Two other Canadians have been detained for harming China’s national security
Tensions between China and Canada have been escalating due to the cases
Trudeau is concerned China has ‘arbitrarily’ applied death penalty to Canadian

14 January 2019

A Canadian convicted of drug trafficking in China has been sentenced to death, according to a Chinese court, amid tensions over Canada’s arrest of a Chinese technology executive late last year.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, was arrested in 2014 on suspicion of smuggling crystal meth from China to Australia, according to the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court. He was said to be caught while trying to flee from China to Thailand.

He was initially sentenced 15 years in prison by the intermediate court in November, but a high court last month deemed the decision ‘too lenient’ and Schellenberg was given the death penalty in an open hearing today.

‘I am not a drug smuggler. I came to China as a tourist,’ Schellenberg, said in his final statement before the sentence was announced. He was brought to the hearing in handcuffs. Schellenberg’s lawyer Zhang Dongshuo told Reuters he will likely appeal the sentence.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s concerned China has chosen to ‘arbitrarily’ apply death penalty to Canadian. Beijing has repeatedly denied any diplomatic pressure in the case.

Schellenberg’s case has been publicised by the Chinese press lately following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei on December 1 on U.S. charges related to trading with Iran.

Since then, China has arrested two Canadian citizens on charges of endangering national security in apparent retaliation. A Canadian teacher was detained but released.

Schellenberg’s death sentence was announced during a first public trial by the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court today, according to an online court statement. All personal assets belonging to Schellenberg will be confiscated by the court.

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