Crime & Justice

China upholds Canadian’s death sentence for drug trafficking

Beijing, Aug 10 (EFE).- The Higher People’s Court of Justice of the northeast Chinese province of Liaoning on Tuesday rejected an appeal against Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s death sentence for drug trafficking.

In a statement published on its website, the court rejected the appeal, upheld the original verdict and informed the Supreme People’s Court of its decision against Schellenberg for participating in organized international drug trafficking and smuggling 222.035 kilograms of methamphetamine.

The court said that “the facts identified in the first trial were clear, the evidence was reliable and sufficient, the conviction was accurate, the sentence was appropriate and the trial procedure was legal.”

In January 2019, a Chinese court sentenced Schellenberg to death at a retrial after prosecutors appealed the 15-year jail term he was handed in the first trial against him in late December 2018.

In the appeal, the prosecutors argued that the evidence suggested that Schellenberg had probably been involved in international drug trafficking and played a key role in drug trafficking, which led to the court ordering a retrial, in which new evidence was submitted.

According to China’s Criminal Procedure Law, any person who traffics, imports, transports or manufactures opium in quantities greater than 1 kg, or heroin in quantities greater than 50 grams or other narcotics in large quantities, must be sentenced to 15 years in prison, life imprisonment or death, in addition to having their assets seized.

The retrial came at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Ottawa, as only a few weeks earlier, on Dec. 1, 2018, Canada had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, at the request of the United States for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran.

A few hours after her arrest in 2018, China detained two Canadian citizens, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, on allegations of endangering China’s national security.

The two men were tried in March on charges of acquiring and selling state secrets to foreign forces, but China has yet to announce a verdict.

Meng’s extradition trial is underway in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Canada.

Meng, whose release Beijing has repeatedly demanded, is out on bail and lives in Vancouver with her family in one of the two mansions that she owns in the Canadian city. EFE


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