Canada formally requests clemency for Canadian sentenced to death in China

China Says Detained Ex Canadian Diplomat Has No Diplomatic Immunity

While Beijing formally denies any connection, the arrest of two Canadians on vague national security charges and the re-sentencing of a convicted Canadian drug smuggler to death on Monday point to a determined campaign of intimidation and retribution.

Canada has an extradition treaty with the US and arrested Meng under the terms of that agreement.

A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a Canadian man to be executed for drug smuggling, prompting Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse China of using the death penalty arbitrarily.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, the Canadian who was sentenced to death in China on January 14 after being convicted of organizing global drug trafficking, has been found guilty of drug crimes before, according to a report by the Abbotsford News.

The 36-year-old former oil worker appealed, maintaining that he was framed.

Then authorities revisited the little-known case of Schellenberg, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November for drug offences.

Meng's arrest in Vancouver, apparently in response to an extradition request from the United States government, sparked the diplomatic dispute that saw Canadian citizens Kovrig and Spavor taken into custody in China, where they have remained ever since. Two other Chinese men were also sentenced in the case, with one man given life imprisonment while the other received a suspended death sentence.

"Everything about Robert Lloyd Schellenberg's case screams retaliatory and arbitrary, from the odd step for China of inviting foreign media to his appeal hearing to the nearly immediate announcement of his capital sentencing", Caster said Tuesday.

In an opening statement, Schellenberg said he had come to China after travelling through Southeast Asia, including Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Canada-born Schellenberg says he had been visiting China as a tourist before his arrest Why was he arrested in China?

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Shortly after the Huawei executive's detention, Chinese authorities apprehended Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor- two Canadians living in China.

Zhang Dongshuo, Schellenberg's lawyer, told Reuters that the sentence should not have been increased because no new evidence was presented at the trial.

The development further strained already tense relations between Canada and China over the treatment of each other's citizens by their respective justice systems.

After Monday's sentence was announced, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed "extreme concern" that China had "chosen to arbitrarily" apply the death penalty in Schellenberg's case.

"His father has turned his back on him because of his criminal history although he still has the support of some family members", Brown said as he handed Schellenberg a two-year sentence.

However, she also stressed that relationship will continue when asked if Canada might consider taking stronger measures against China for what some foreign policy experts have described as "hostage diplomacy".

The Canadian's case is expected to be reviewed by higher courts before he is put to death.

"As long as the foreign citizens in China abide by Chinese laws and regulations, they are welcomed and their safety and freedom are guaranteed", Hua said.

The Chinese foreign ministry rejected Trudeau's assertion that Kovrig, who now works for the International Crisis Group, still enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

"I absolutely think the best thing for both Canada and China, and frankly for the whole world, is to get past these current difficulties".

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