China sentences Canadian man to death for drug smuggling amid Huawei row

China sentences Canadian man to death for drug smuggling amid Huawei row

China sentences Canadian man to death for drug smuggling amid Huawei row

The revised advisory cautioned travellers of the "risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws", and noted that the "safety and security situation could change with little notice".

A Canadian man in China faces a death sentence for drug smuggling, worsening the countries' relationship weeks after Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused China of "arbitrarily" applying the death penalty to Schellenberg, who says he was framed.

Schellenberg's fate is likely to become a volatile factor in diplomacy between Beijing and Ottawa after Canadian authorities arrested a Chinese tech executive last month.

Schellenberg was told in court he had the right to appeal to Liaoning High Court within 10 days upon receiving the ruling, the intermediate court said in a second statement.

Schellenberg had been sentenced to 15 years in jail for smuggling methamphetamines just before Meng's arrest, but appealed the decision.

A court in the northeast port city of Dalian subsequently ruled that Schellenberg's sentence was too light and that he had been a key figure in an worldwide drug-smuggling operation.

In an opening statement, Schellenberg said he had come to China after travelling through Southeast Asia, including Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

"It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all of our global friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply the death penalty in cases as in this case facing a Canadian", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.

At the retrial, prosecutors said that Schellenberg was heavily involved in a failed attempt to smuggle methamphetamines to Australia in pellets stuffed inside tires.

Schellenberg claimed the drug deal was masterminded by Khamla Wong, a Canadian who was arrested in Thailand in 2016 on drug charges.

According to Schellenberg's lawyer, there is insufficient evidence to implicate the Canadian involvement in the operation and no new evidence had been introduced to justify a heavier sentence.

A senior Canadian government official said Chinese officials have been questioning Kovrig about his diplomatic work in China, which is a major reason why Trudeau is asserting diplomatic immunity.

Trudeau suggested that Kovrig still enjoyed diplomatic immunity, an assertion rejected by the Chinese foreign ministry on Monday.

"According to the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations and global law, he is not entitled to diplomatic immunity", Hua said at a daily briefing. A Canadian teacher was detained but released.

Following the arrest of Meng on December 1, China arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor days later, accusing them of endangering national security.

He told The Associated Press that "it's hard not to see a link" between the case and Canada's arrest of Meng.

In an opinion piece on January 9, the Chinese ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye effectively confirmed that the detention of two Canadian academics was in response to Meng's arrest, raising further questions around Schellenberg's case.

"I won't comment specifically, because I may have a role down the road, but I will say that we are a rule of law country, and it's one of our most important principles and as minister of justice and attorney general for Canada I will always act to protect the rule of law", he told CBC News.

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