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Canadian who ‘smuggled enormous amount of drugs’ may face death penalty in China

Canadian who ‘smuggled enormous amount of drugs’ may face death penalty in China
A Canadian citizen is due for trial on drug smuggling charges in China, according to state-run media. The case now has a heightened importance in light of international tension over the arrest in Canada of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg may face the death penalty under China’s strict drug laws, which apply a sentence of “15 years, life imprisonment or death” as well as property confiscation for drug trafficking in amounts over a kilogram. He is reportedly due to stand trial in Liaoning Provincial High People’s Court on Saturday.

The amount of drugs allegedly smuggled by the Canadian “will surprise you when it goes public,” according to Chinese regional outlet runsky.com, which explained that this is an appeal hearing for Schellenberg after an earlier ruling found he had smuggled “an enormous amount of drugs” into China. The country has executed foreign drug smugglers before: UK citizen Akmal Shaikh was put to death in 2009, despite protests from British authorities, for smuggling over 4kg of heroin.

Schellenberg’s trial announcement follows the arrest of two Canadian citizens in China earlier this month on charges of “harming state security.” Canadian authorities have not suggested an explicit connection between the detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig and the arrest of Meng Wanzhou as she attempted to change planes at Vancouver International Airport en route to Mexico, but many see the Canadians’ arrest in China as an act of retaliation.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has thus far not personally interceded on behalf of the detained Canadians, acknowledging that the matter is “complicated,” even as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded an end to their “unlawful detention.”

Also on rt.com Beijing warns against ‘bullying’ its citizens amid ongoing US-Huawei saga

Meng was apprehended on December 1 at the request of US authorities, who hope to extradite her to stand trial on sanctions violations and fraud charges, and was released on bail several days later with an order to submit to electronic monitoring and other security measures. The Chinese government has demanded her release, while US President Donald Trump has hinted that he is not above using her as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations.

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