Thursday, July 7

Ottawa qualifies the death penalty in China of a Canadian of revenge for the Huawei case

Madrid / Beijing



A Chinese court confirmed in second instance on Tuesday the death penalty to the canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg for drug trafficking, against the background of the serious diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.

This ruling comes a day before the Chinese Justice announces its verdict on the Canadian citizen. Michael Spavor, accused of espionage.

His arrest in China, as well as that of the former diplomat Michael Kovrig, also Canadian, strained bilateral relations at the end of 2018, already complicated by the arrest a few days earlier in Canada, of Meng Wanzhou, a senior management of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, at the request of Washington.

Schellenberg was arrested by the Chinese authorities in December 2014, charged in January of the following year with smuggling more than 220 kilos of methamphetamine, along with other defendants, and originally sentenced to 15 years in prison on November 28, 2018. A few days later, on December 1, it was when Meng was detained in Vancouver following the US extradition request and China threatened consequences unless she was released.

Past guilty in Canada for drug trafficking, Schellenberg pleaded not guilty and assured that he had gone to China for tourism and appealed the sentence. Before the end of the month, a Chinese court ordered a repeat trial, but far from lowering or overturning the Canadian’s sentence, in January 2019 he was sentenced to death.

The Supreme People’s Court of Liaoning province (northeast), the province where he was tried, has now decided to reject the appeal against the death sentence and “confirm the initial ruling,” he said Tuesday in a statement collected by Afp.

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The full Court “considered that the facts found in the first instance were clear, the evidence reliable and sufficient” and that the death penalty is “appropriate,” he said.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s appeal process was held in May 2019, so it has taken the Chinese justice more than two years to pronounce its verdict.

This ruling coincides with the appearance of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, before a Canadian court in a series of hearings devoted to his eventual extradition to the United States.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver

Precisely the Canadian ambassador in Beijing, Dominic Barton, condemned the decision to uphold Schellenberg’s death sentence and assured reporters that “it is not a coincidence” that Beijing announced the outcome of the appeal just as the Huawei executive’s case is underway, Reuters reports.

Meng Wanzhou, 49, was arrested on December 1, 2018 at the Vancouver airport at the request of the United States, which wants to try her for bank fraud.

A few days after Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians: former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. Arrests that the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin trudeau, he sees in retaliation, what Beijing denies. The two men were tried for “espionage” last spring in a closed-door trial.

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