Canada and China ramp up war of words over Canadian’s death sentence

Canada and China ramp up war of words over Canadian’s death sentence

Shortly after their arrest, detainees in China two Canadians on charges of endangering the security of the state.

Trudeau had previously spoken of an arbitrary judgment against his compatriot Robert Schellenberg.

Experts said retrials are rare in China, especially ones calling for a harsher sentence, but rights groups noted that courts are not independent and can be influenced by the Communist Party.

Although China has not suggested the flurry of legal law enforcement has anything to do with Meng's arrest and potential deportation to the USA, its foreign affairs department has warned Canada of consequences for its actions.

The court said it found that Schellenberg was involved in an worldwide drug smuggling operation and was recruited to help smuggle more than 222kgs of methamphetamine from a warehouse in Dalian city to Australia.

Freeland urged all Canadians considering travel to China to consult the government's travel advisory.

Since then, China has arrested two Canadians in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest.

"The trial will also send the message that China won't yield to outside pressure in implementing its law", it said.

Canada has formally petitioned China not to follow through with the execution of a Canadian convicted of being an accessory to drug-smuggling.

Rights organizations said Tuesday's remarks by the Chinese foreign ministry raise serious questions about possible political interference in China's courts.

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Trudeau said Monday he was very concerned to see China "acting arbitrarily" by applying the death penalty and that Canada will do all it can to intervene on Schellenberg's behalf. She was granted bail shortly after her arrest, but remains under constant surveillance and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

The row between Canada and China has escalated following the sentencing to death in China of a Canadian man for drug smuggling.

The rare decision to allow three foreign journalists to attend the hearing makes it "clear that the Chinese government wants [the] worldwide spotlight on this case", she added.

"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".

"I also agree with the prime minister, who referred to the arbitrary death penalty", said McCallum, who is expected to brief Trudeau's cabinet at a retreat this week in Sherbrooke, Que.

China executes one or two foreigners every year -- almost all for drug offenses, according to John Kamm, director of the US-based Dui Hua Foundation rights group.

The top court could confirm the death penalty, give him a two-year suspended death sentence that would be converted into a long prison term or reduce his punishment, she said.

The Liaoning High Court in late December ordered the case retried after prosecutors said the sentence was too light and improper.

Hua on Monday denied Kovrig was eligible for diplomatic immunity as Trudeau has maintained.

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Canadian man sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling will appeal the verdict, his lawyer said on Tuesday, arguing that the court should not have increased his sentence, given no new evidence had been introduced during his retrial.

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