A Chinese court has upheld today a death sentence against Canadian citizen Robert Schellenberg for drug smuggling.
Schellenberg has been detained in China since 2014 after he was accused of drug smuggling. In December 2018, he was sentenced to 15 years in jail and he appealed for a retrial.
But the Dalian intermediate people’s court sentenced him to death in January 2019, a month after telecoms giant Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on a warrant from the US.
Meng was charged with misleading HSBC Holdings about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, potentially causing the bank to violate American economic sanctions.
Liaoning Higher People’s Court heard Schellenberg’s appeal against the death sentence in May last year and confirmed the verdict today.
Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, attended the ruling and said outside the court that Canada condemns the verdict on all possible terms.
“We call on China to grant Robert Schellenberg clemency. We have expressed our firm opposition to this cruel and usual punishment and continue to express that to the Chinese authorities,” said Barton.
Another court in the northeastern city of Dandong is reportedly expected to rule on the case of another Canadian, Michael Spavor, accused of spying on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in Canada, lawyers representing Meng make a final push to convince a court not to extradite her to the US.
“It is not a coincidence that these are happening right now, while the case is going on in Vancouver,” said Barton, referring to the cases of Schellenberg and Spavor.
China has rejected the suggestion that the two Canadian cases in China link to Meng’s case in Canada.