Canadian man sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges
The incident is set to sharply escalate China’s diplomatic row with Canada and the United States.
Robert Lloyd Schellenberg has been sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges, after an appeals court in China found that his original sentence of 15 years was too lenient in light of new evidence.
The case has been condemned by Western legal experts and Schellenberg’s relatives, who claim that China is using Schellenberg as a bargaining chip in its efforts to free a top technology executive whose detention in Canada infuriated the Chinese government, according to the Washington Post.
The executive in question is Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at Vancouver airport on 1 December at the request of the United States, who want her extradited to face fraud charges related to alleged violations of Iran sanctions.
On Monday morning, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented strongly on the matter, expressing “extreme concern” over the case.
Schellenberg was originally arrested in 2014 and was sentenced in 2018, before the court found that that sentence was too lenient.
It is believed that he is part of an international drug smuggling operation.
If he chooses, Schellenberg has 10 days to appeal the decision, the court said. His case is expected to be reviewed by higher courts before he is put to death.