After the decision of a Chinese appeals court, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg still faces the death penalty – only the Supreme People’s Court can overturn the sentence.
Beijing (AP) – Against the backdrop of diplomatic tensions between China and Canada, a Chinese court has upheld the death sentence against a Canadian drug dealer.
The appeals court in northeastern China’s Liaoning province said the death penalty imposed on Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg in January 2019 would be upheld. In the last resort, the Chinese Supreme Court must confirm the death sentence.
Schellenberg was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison in November 2018. Shortly afterwards, however, it turned out to be too low after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada. The daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is accused of bank fraud in the US over sanctions violations against Iran. A trial is now underway in Canada to decide whether the businesswoman will be extradited to the United States.
Since Meng Wanzhou’s arrest, two more Canadians have been detained in China, which is why Beijing has been accused of “hostage diplomacy”. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were charged with espionage. Canadian media reported, citing people familiar with the trial, that a ruling against Spavor could be expected this week. Both governments have called on each other to release their compatriots.
In China, convicted drug traffickers face either long prison terms or the death penalty. At least one other Canadian and one Australian man had been sentenced to death there in the past two years.