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China rejects Canadian’s death sentence appeal

A man rides a scooter across an intersection near the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, Tuesday. Associated Press/Photo by Mark Schiefelbein

China rejects Canadian’s death sentence appeal

A Chinese court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence of a Canadian citizen accused of smuggling drugs. The court first sentenced Robert Schellenberg to 16 months in prison for smuggling 448 pounds of methamphetamine. In a 2019 retrial, he was re-sentenced to death.

What spurred the decision? It marks China’s latest attempt to pressure Canada into releasing Meng Wanzhou, executive of tech giant Huawei. The U.S. has accused Huawei of stealing intellectual property. Canada will listen to final arguments in the coming weeks on whether Meng should face extradition on charges related to violations of sanctions against Iran. Authorities in Canada detained her on a U.S. warrant days before Schellenberg’s death sentence. Another Chinese court is expected to announce the sentence of Canadian Michael Spavor, a businessman charged alongside former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig on espionage charges. China has insisted the prosecutions are not linked to Meng’s arrest. Dominic Barton, the Canadian ambassador to Beijing, called Schellenberg’s sentence “cruel and inhumane,” and asked for clemency.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archive, read June Cheng’s 2018 report on the U.S. case against Meng.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.



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