China sentences Canadian to death in tit-for-tat move

January 17, 2019 12:58 am0 commentsViews: 87

(Photo courtesy: BBC)

(TibetanReview.net, Jan16’19) – China has on Jan 14 sentenced a Canadian man to death as a way to get back at Ottawa for having carried out a US request to detain the Chief Financial Officer Ms Meng Wanzhou of the tech giant Huawei for financial fraud. The fraud was committed to facilitate the violation of US sanctions on Iran. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who maintains innocence, was already under a 15-year jail sentence imposed on Nov 20, 2018 after his arrest in 2014 on allegation of being accessory to drug smuggling charges.

However, following Meng’s detention On Dec 1, 2018, the Liaoning High Court ordered the case retried in late December after prosecutors said the sentence was too light.

“The evidence is compelling and ample, and the criminal charges are well founded,” the New York Times Jan 14 quoted the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court as saying of Mr Schellenberg’s death sentence.

Schellenberg was sentenced to death despite the fact that under Chinese law, a defendant cannot receive a heavier sentence upon appeal, unless the prosecution brings new charges, reported the Wall Street Journal Jan 14, citing legal experts.

Prosecutors were stated to have changed their original charge that Schellenberg was an accessory to drug smuggling by charging him with having been a key participant in an international drug smuggling ring.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of “arbitrarily” applying the death penalty, saying that the sentence was of “extreme concern” to the government. He has vowed that his administration would “intercede” in Schellenberg’s case.

“It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply” the death penalty, the South China Morning Post Jan 14 quoted Trudeau as saying.

Trudeau has also said China had taken a “choice not to respect long-standing practices and principles in regards to diplomatic immunity”, referring to the case of Canadian national Michael Kovrig who was also held in China on suspicion of endangering state security after Meng’s detention. Another Canadian, Michael Spavor, also faces the same charge after being arrested similarly.

China has given unprecedented publicity to Schellenberg’s case, even letting in foreign journalists in the one day hearing, while the retrial itself was most unusual, making it all but absolutely clear that this was a tit-for-tat move against Canada for Meng’s detention.

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