‘Geopolitical!’ China attacked after upholding death penalty for Canadian drug smuggler

Schellenberg: Expert on upholding of death penalty in China

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Canadian Mr Schellenberg was arrested in 2014 for smuggling a whopping 222kg of methamphetamine, according to the Chinese authorities. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November 2018 but then was suddenly given a new trial and sentenced to the death penalty in January 2019. On Tuesday Chinese lawmakers in the northeastern city of Dalian threw out his appeal to challenge the penalty. But politicians have claimed his ongoing trial is a “geopolitical” move and claim China wants Canada to turn over Meng Wanzhou, the detained chief officer of Chinese state-owned telecoms company Huawei who is currently being held in Vancouver by US authorities over possible dealings with Iran.

Speaking to France24, China correspondent Charles Pellegrin explained how the trial is on a knife-edge and it is unlikely Mr Schellenberg’s fate will be overturned.

He claimed: “Mr Schellenberg appealed his death penalty and the case went to the higher court.

“Where it judged today that the evidence that had been reviewed at the previous trial was reliable and sufficient.”

He added: “From now on they have upheld the death penalty for Mr Schellenberg and the case will now be going to the Supreme People’s Court for approval.”

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According to Mr Schellenberg’s lawyer in China “the chance for this ruling to be overturned are relatively low but not impossible”.

It comes as the Canadian ambassador and other diplomats have slammed the whole trial as a “geopolitical process” from China and claim Beijing is treating the death penalty “arbitrarily”.

The politicians have drawn links to Meng Wanzhou’s case suggesting that Mr Schellenberg’s fate is “intertwined” with the fate of the Huawei executive.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Dominic Barton, the Canadian Ambassador to China told reporters: “It is not a coincidence that these are happening right now, while the case is going on in Vancouver.”

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He added how he was deeply concerned about China’s “arbitrary” use of the death penalty.

Higher People’s Court of Liaoning Province where the trial is taking place said the sentence was “appropriate” and the procedures “legal”.

Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei, was detained at Vancouver Airport in December 2018 on charges relating to possible dealings with Iran.

She is currently fighting her extradition while under house arrest in Vancouver.

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China has rejected the suggestion the Canadian’s case is linked to Meng’s case in Canada.

But the East Asian powerhouse has warned of unspecified consequences unless Meng was released.

Chinese courts have a conviction rate of more than 99 percent according to Reuters news agency.

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