China sentences Canadian man to death after Canada detains tech executive

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If Schellenberg loses on appeal, the death sentence will be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court, which overturns sentences only about 10 per cent of the time, he said.

In his strongest comments yet, Trudeau said "all countries around the world" should be concerned that Beijing is acting arbitrarily with its justice system.

Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, on a U.S. extradition request related to alleged Iran sanctions violations.

Schellenberg appeared "quite calm" during a visit last week when the possibility of the death penalty was discussed, Zhang said.

In late December, a Dalian court bolstered his charge to worldwide drug trafficking, deemed his punishment to be too light, and called for a retrial.

Despite the Canadian's insistence that he is innocent, his retrial lasted just a day, with his death sentence coming barely an hour after its conclusion, the BBC correspondent said.

Two other Canadians remained detained, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

"The fact that he is a Canadian, combined with the welcoming of foreign media to view court proceedings, makes it downright suspicious", Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University, told The Washington Post Monday.

Since her arrest, multiple Canadian citizens have been detained in China.

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Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, believed to be 36, was arrested in 2014 and accused of planning to smuggle nearly 227kg of methamphetamine into China. "I came to China as a tourist", AFP reported Schellenberg saying just before the verdict was announced.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the ruling, which comes as relations have strained between the two countries following the arrest of a senior executive from the Chinese tech firm Huawei in Vancouver last month.

Rights groups condemned the Schellenberg sentence while Guy St-Jacques, who was Canada's ambassador in Beijing when Kovrig worked there, expressed concern at how quickly the courts had acted.

Earlier Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said authorities had determined Kovrig was not entitled to diplomatic immunity, rejecting a complaint from Trudeau that China was not respecting longstanding practices regarding immunity.

Fast called on the Trudeau Government Monday to outline the steps being taken to ensure Schellenberg does not lose his life, and asked for immediate intervention.

A Chinese person convicted of involvement in the same operation received a suspended death sentence earlier.

"According to the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations and worldwide law, he is not entitled to diplomatic immunity", Hua said at a daily briefing. "Dozens of Canadians have been detained on administrative grounds of had their visas questioned", Fast said. "I suggest that the relevant Canadian person carefully study the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and worldwide law before commenting on the cases, or they would only expose themselves to ridicule with such specious remarks".

He told The Associated Press that "it's hard not to see a link" between the case and Canada's arrest of Meng. He told the court on Monday, according to The Globe and Mail's China correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe: "I am not a drug smuggler".

"On that, I think Canada's in relatively good position because we traditionally have been excellent at banding together and creating meaningful alliances and institutions with a large number of very powerful countries".

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