China court upholds Canadian's death sentence

A Chinese court on Tuesday (August 10) upheld a Canadian man's death sentence for drug smuggling.

Robert Schellenberg was arrested in 2014 and initially sentenced to 15 years in jail.

He appealed but a court in the city of Dalian sentenced him to death in January 2019.

The timing of that decision is seen as critical with some saying that it's linked to another case in Canada.

A month before Schellenberg was given his death sentence in China, an executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Vancouver on a warrant from the United States.

Meng Wanzhou is accused of misleading HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran, potentially causing the bank to violate American economic sanctions.

This week her lawyers are making a final push to prevent her extradition to the U.S..

The Canadian ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, said it was no coincidence that the cases were happening at the same time.

He also made reference to another Canadian - businessman Michael Spavor - who was detained in China days after Meng's arrest.

Spavor has been charged with espionage in June last year and a court is due to announce a verdict on his case this week.

China has rejected the suggestion the cases of the Canadians in China are linked to Meng's case in Canada.

China has, however, warned of unspecified consequences if Meng is not released.

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