Chinese court rejects Canadian’s appeal of death sentence

August 10, 2021

Chinese court rejects Canadian's appeal of death sentence

On Tuesday, a Chinese court rejected a Canadian drug dealer’s death sentence appeal. This was expected as China is one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to executions. However, there were extraneous factors included in the decision by the Chinese.

Canada detained a Chinese executive of Huawei, a massive technology conglomerate. Canada is showing no signs that he will be released, so this sentence is a message from China. If Canada would have released the executive, the drug dealer’s appeal may have been answered.

Details of the Rejection

The Canadian drug dealer detained in China, Robert Schellenberg, was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was convicted of smuggling 222 kg or 448 pounds of methamphetamine into the country.

Things took a turn for the worst for Schellenberg after the December 1, 2018, arrest of Meng Wanzhou. The United States and Canada teamed up to detain Wanzhou because it was believed that he was dealing with Iran.

Additionally, two other Canadians have been arrested in China since Wanzhou was detained. A former Canadian diplomat and entrepreneur were arrested for spying charges. The Chinese said they would be released if Canada followed suit with Wanzhou. Although the Canadians have not budged, this could change with Schellenberg sentenced to death.

The Higher People’s Court of Liaoning Province rejected the plea not to be executed by Schellenberg. There seemed to be no judicial integrity in this case as the court did not reasonably explain how a 15-year sentence could be increased to the death penalty.

Yet, there is still a chance for Schellenberg not to receive the death penalty. Since the Chinese court rejected the case, it will now head to the nation’s highest court. Before an execution occurs, this is required by law, but the ruling is expected to stand unless Wanzhou is released.

Canadian Condemnation

The Canadians were quick to condemn China for its unjust ruling with Schellenberg. Dominic Barton, Canadian ambassador to Beijing, spoke after the verdict was announced.

He said, “We condemn the verdict in the strongest possible terms and call on China to grant Robert clemency. The penalty is cruel and inhumane. His retrial and subsequent sentence were arbitrary.”

Barton attended the trial to support Schellenberg in the city of Shenyang. The other case that the Canadians have criticized is the arrest of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. These two were arrested in December 2018 as a way to pressure the country into releasing Wanzhou.

The cases in China with these two, Schellenberg, and Wanzhou are all mixing. These rulings will affect each other, so both nations are paying close attention to the courts. A Canadian court will hear the final arguments in the next few weeks for Wanzhou’s case.

Wanzhou has been under house arrest in Vancouver since being detained. Things could be worse for Wanzhou, but the Chinese want him released and sent home. Nevertheless, this is unlikely to happen as many countries are turning against China. More information will unravel in the coming weeks, which will determine the final outcomes of these trials.

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