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article imageChinese court sentences Canadian to death over drug smuggling

By Karen Graham     Jan 14, 2019 in World
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 make the man a bargaining chip between the two countries.
According to CTV News Canada, 36-year-old Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was first arrested in China in 2014. He was tried in 2016 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
But in an unusual move, a higher court, at the urging of prosecutors, made the decision to retry him three weeks ago. The new trial took place in China’s Liaoning province on Monday, according to Schellenberg's lawyer, Zhang Dongshuo.
The Wall Street Journal is suggesting that Beijing may be using Schellenberg to get leverage after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive from telecom giant Huawei last month. Schellenberg’s case was never publicized by Chinese media until shortly after Meng’s arrest.
According to court records, Schellenberg was recruited to help smuggle 222 kilograms of methamphetamine from a Chinese warehouse to Australia. However, in his opening statement on Monday, Schellenberg said he had come to China after traveling through Southeast Asia, including Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
A friend recommended a man named Xu Qing as a translator, and only later was he found to be connected to an international drug smuggling ring. "I am not a drug smuggler. I came to China as a tourist," he told the court.
"This is a case about Xu Qing, he is an international drug smuggler and a liar," Schellenberg told the court, accusing Xu of setting him up. Schellenberg has 10 days to appeal the sentence.
More about China, Canadian, Drug smuggling, second trial, bargaining chip
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