China sentences Canadian man to death for drug smuggling

China says detained Canadian Michael Kovrig doesn't have diplomatic immunity

China denies detained Canadian has diplomatic immunity

A Canadian national has been sentenced Monday to execution in China, after being retried on worldwide drug trafficking charges.

All his personal assets will also be confiscated, according to the court. He can now appeal the decision.

Earlier: China court orders retrial for Canadian after prosecutors claim new evidence.

Beijing has taken the unusual step of inviting selected foreign media to observe the retrial.

Schellenberg, a 36-year-old former oil worker, was initially detained in Liaoning province in 2015. He was tried in 2016 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The court heard the appeal on December 29 and ordered a retrial in the lower court.

He says Canada will do all it can to intervene on Robert Lloyd Schellenberg's behalf.

Schellenberg has 10 days to appeal his sentence, the court said in a statement, which his lawyer Zhang Dongshuo told Reuters will most likely happen.

William Nee, a Hong Kong-based China researcher with Amnesty International, said it was horrified that Schellenberg had been sentenced to death, particularly as drug-related offences did not meet the threshold of the "most serious crimes" to which the death penalty must be restricted under international law. "Schellenberg argued that he was a tourist visiting China and framed by criminals".

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The man accused of murdering a California police officer was ordered to surrender an AR-15 in another case previous year . The event was filled with speeches by local politicians and musical performances, according to the Bee .

Persons carrying a diplomatic passport are protected by limited immunity when they are overseas under the terms of the Vienna Convention. He said a friend recommended a man named Xu Qing as a translator. "He is an global drug smuggler and a liar", Schellenberg told the court.

Prosecutors brought in Xu as a witness, who in close to two hours of testimony never once turned to look at Schellenberg.

When pressed on details, he frequently said he could not remember and had to refer to a written statement, including when Schellenberg questioned him about 180,000 yuan he was purportedly given. Schellenberg told the court on Monday that he came to China after travelling through Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

His retrial in the northeast city of Dalian comes against the backdrop of the Chinese government's anger over the arrest in Canada of a top executive of telecom giant Huawei last month.

In the weeks following her seizure, Chinese authorities detained two Canadians living in China on suspicion of national security crimes. The apparent weak evidence against the Canadian, the speed in scheduling a retrial, and China's invitation of the worldwide press to cover the sentencing all indicate that the move could be retaliatory and aimed at gaining leverage over Ottawa.

"Sending the case back for retrial gives China the opportunity to threaten death and to drag out that threat for as long as necessary", he wrote.

Schellenberg was to have been deported after serving his sentence. If found guilty she could be jailed for up to 30 years.

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