Chinese court orders retrial for Canadian jailed for drug smuggling

Jan 01, 2019, 02:11
Chinese court orders retrial for Canadian jailed for drug smuggling

A Chinese court said Saturday that a 15-year jail sentence for a Canadian national charged with drug smuggling was too "lenient" and remanded his case for a retrial.

Flags of China and Canada blowing in the wind.

The Higher People's Court of Liaoning Province heard an appeal Saturday from Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who was given a 15-year prison sentence last month for his involvement in worldwide drug-trafficking activities.

An appeals court agreed with prosecutors who said Schellenberg was punished too leniently when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of being an accessory to drug smuggling.

In the decision, the court noted that Canadian diplomats were in court for the appeal.

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It was not immediately clear when the retrial will take place.

China holds zero tolerance towards and will strive to fight against anyone - be it foreigner or Chinese - who is involved in drug-related activities, Chinese analysts warned after news reports that a Canadian will go to trial in Northeast China on Saturday for drug trafficking.

Both China and Canada have said that McIver's case is different from Kovrig's and Spavor's.

Schellenberg could face a much more severe penalty, including death, when he is retried.

The spokesman did not specify when the Canadian returned to Canada.

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Since then, China has arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor on charges of endangering national security in apparent retaliation.

China executed a Briton caught smuggling heroin in 2009, prompting a British outcry over what it said was the lack of any mental health assessment.

Previously, two Canadians - Michael Spavor who is a consultant on North Korea, and former diplomat Michael Kovrig - employed by thinktank International Crisis Group, were detained by China on suspicion of "harm to national security". It did not elaborate. Ms Meng was held at the request of USA prosecutors and faces extradition on charges of violating sanctions on Iran.

Ms McIver's detention followed that of two other Canadians.

Her arrest has also heaped uncertainty on efforts by Washington and Beijing to reduce tensions in their trade war.

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