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Death Penalty for A Canadian Worsens China and Canada Ties

BEIJING/OTTAWA – A Chinese court sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death in a new drug trafficking case for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, TRT World reported Tuesday.
The court on Monday sentenced a Canadian to be executed for drug trafficking, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse China of using the death penalty arbitrarily.
The decision and reaction of Trudeau could aggravate the already bleak relations between Beijing and Ottawa after the arrest of a senior Chinese leader in Canada and the subsequent detention of two Canadians by China.
The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in northeastern China’s Liaoning Province again tried Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who had appealed the 15-year sentence had been sentenced to imprisonment, and decided on its execution, announced the court in a statement.
Trudeau strongly condemned Monday’s proceedings, implying that China was using its legal system to pressure Canada following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s telecommunications giant Huawei.
Trudeau said in his most energetic comment on this: “All countries of the world” should fear that Beijing is acting arbitrarily with its justice system.
“As a government, we, along with all our friends and international allies, strongly believe that China has chosen to arbitrarily apply the death penalty,” said Trudeau.
Canada then updated its travel advisory to China, urging Canadians to “exercise caution because of the risk of arbitrary application of local laws.”
Schellenberg learned in court that he had the right to appeal to the Liaoning High Court within 10 days of receiving the decision, the interim court said in a second statement.
Schellenberg’s lawyer said on Monday he would appeal.
Schellenberg’s aunt, Lauri Nelson-Jones, said the worst fears of the family had been confirmed.
“Our thoughts are with Robert at that time, what he feels and thinks is unimaginable,” she said in a statement to Reuters.
“This is a horrible, unfortunate and heartbreaking situation, and we are anxiously anticipating news of a call.”
China is not putting pressure on Canada by condemning a Canadian to death for drug trafficking, and any suggestion to that effect was a “gross disregard” of Chinese law, state media said.
“Public opinion in Canada recently claimed that China is” politicizing “Schellenberg’s case, but that Canada is politicizing the law,” said the Global Times.
Sino-Canadian relations became icy in early December after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver under a US extradition warrant.
China warned of unspecified consequences unless Meng was released and arrested Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on unpaid leave from the Beijing embassy, and Michael Spavor, a Canadian consultant, suspected of endangering state security.
Beijing has not established a direct link between the detentions and the arrest of Meng, sought by US authorities for allegedly misleading multinational banks over Iran-related transactions. Western diplomats in Beijing, however, say these cases are mutual reprisals.
Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada, suggested in a newspaper article last week that the arrest of Kovrig and Spavor was “China’s self-defense”, but gave no details.
Earlier Monday, the Chinese government rejected Trudeau’s statement that Kovrig enjoyed some form of diplomatic immunity.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Trudeau should “seriously study” the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations in order to “not become a laughingstock”.
Trudeau said Ottawa “would continue to make a firm commitment” with Beijing about Kovrig’s status and what he called China’s arbitrary use of justice.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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