China court sentences Canadian drug suspect to death

15 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

DALIAN: A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian man to death on drug trafficking charges on Monday after his previous 15-year prison sentence was deemed too lenient, a ruling likely to deepen a diplomatic rift between Ottawa and Beijing, reports AFP.

A court in the northeast city of Dalian said following a day-long retrial that it “completely rejects” the defence put forward by Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who is 36.

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—on a US extradition request—of a top executive from telecom giant Huawei last month.

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.

Schellenberg, who was detained in December 2014, is accused of playing a central role in drug smuggling and of potential involvement in international organised crime.