U.S. says China's death sentence against Canadian 'politically motivated'

Federal Government Promises To Intercede On Behalf Of Canadian Sentenced To Death In China

Federal Government Promises To Intercede On Behalf Of Canadian Sentenced To Death In China

Later that month, the High People's Court of Liaoning Province ordered a retrial regarding the charges against another Canadian national, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug smuggling in November by a lower court, after prosecutors called for him to receive a harsher punishment, citing "new evidence" showing that he was part of an global drug trafficking syndicate.

"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.

While it's unclear whether the sentence was implemented in response to the recent riff between the two countries, Trudeau suggested that China had arbitrarily applied the death sentence in this case.

Beijing and Ottawa have been squabbling since last month, when Canada arrested the chief financial officer of top Chinese telecom company Huawei on a U.S. extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations.

China and Canada's diplomatic ties became strained, and concerns have been raised that Schellenberg's death sentence is being used as "payback".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of acting "arbitrarily" by imposing a death sentence on Schellenberg and has vowed that Canada will do all it can to intervene on his behalf.

The court said Schellenberg had conspired with others in an attempt to smuggle 222 kg (489.43 lb) of methamphetamine from China to Australia in late 2014.

Canada also updated its travel advisory regarding China, urging its citizens to exercise a "high degree of caution" before going there, Freeland stated.

"I can't tell you the relationship between Mr. Schellenberg's last appeal procedure and sensitive events which happened in Canada, " Zhang said, but he described the timing of Schellenberg's appeal and retrial as "very significant".

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She's telling the president, even if you open up the government, I'm not going to do a deal on the wall. Senator Chris Coons, called Mr Graham's idea to reopen the government a "great place to start".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed " strong dissatisfaction" with that.

His original sentence was 15 years.

State media has played up coverage of his case following the deterioration in relations with Canada.

"Whatever Canada does, it is the rule of law, but whatever China does is not".

"We have very clearly outlined the case's facts and its seriousness", she added.

Mr Zhang maintained that the existing evidence was not enough to prove Schellenberg smuggled the 222 kilograms of drugs to Dalian in 2014, nor involved in any worldwide criminal gangs.

Asked whether it had concerns about due process, he said:"In China there is generally a problem of lack of transparency in trials".

China on Tuesday vociferously defended a court's decision to impose the death penalty on a convicted Canadian drug smuggler, escalating a diplomatic row that experts say has descended into a high-stakes game of "hostage politics". Freeland thanked countries and organizations _ Germany, France, the Netherlands, the European Union, the United States, Britain, Australia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia _ for "publicly coming out and speaking against these arbitrary detentions".

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