Chinese Court Rejects Canadian’s Appeal of Death Sentence

A Chinese court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by a Canadian whose sentence in a drug case was increased to death while Beijing was trying to pressure Canada to release a detained executive of tech giant Huawei. Robert Schellenberg was sentenced to prison in November 2018 after being convicted of drug smuggling. He was abruptly resentenced to death in January 2019 following the arrest of the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies in Vancouver. Meng Wanzhou was detained on U.S. charges related to possible dealings with Iran. The Higher People’s Court of Liaoning Province rejected Schellenberg’s appeal and said court procedures were legal and the sentence appropriate. It sent the case to the Chinese supreme court for review, as is required by law before any death sentences can be carried out. The Chinese government also arrested a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, and a Canadian entrepreneur, Michael Spavor, on unspecified spying charges in an apparent attempt to pressure Ottawa to release Meng. Two other Canadians, Fan Wei and Xu Weihong, also were sentenced to death on drug charges in 2019 as relations between Beijing and Ottawa deteriorated. The United States wants the Huawei executive, Meng, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, extradited to face charges she lied to banks in Hong Kong in connection with dealings with Iran that might violate trade sanctions. A Canadian judge is to hear final arguments over whether Meng should be extradited. China also has reduced imports from Canada. 

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