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China sentences Canadian to death on smuggling charges amid Huawei CFO row

Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death at the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in northeast China

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

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Chinese court sentences Canadian to death amid Huawei CFO row. (Photo: Twitter)

A on Monday sentenced a Canadian national to death for his involvement in drugs amid increasing tensions between and over the recent arrest of

Canadian was sentenced to death at the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in northeast China's Liaoning Province, state-run reported on Monday night.

All his personal assets will also be confiscated, according to the court.

Earlier in the day Schellenberg told the court that he had been framed when prosecutors pushed for a harsher sentence in a case which could further exacerbate tensions between the US, and

In his defence at his retrial, Schellenberg, a 36-year-old former industry employee, said he was a tourist framed by criminals, rejecting allegations he had smuggled more than 200 kgs of methamphetamine in China, the Hong Kong-based Morning Post reported.

But prosecutors said they had evidence that "highly suggests Schellenberg was involved in organised drug crime," it reported quoting Chinese state-run broadcaster CGTN.

While Schellenberg was initially detained in in 2015, his case assumed significance in the backdrop of increased tensions between and China over Meng's arrest.

Meng, the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, is currently on bail in Canada after her arrest over alleged violation of US sanctions on If found guilty she could be jailed for up to 30 years.

Following her arrest, China also detained former Canadian

Schellenberg was first tried for drug in the in March 2016 but it was not until more than two years later that the court handed down a verdict, convicting and jailing him for 15 years in November 2018, report said. He was also fined 150,000 yuan.

He appealed against the sentence to the Liaoning High People's Court, where prosecutors argued the sentence was too lenient. The court heard the appeal on December 29 and ordered a retrial in the lower court.

Schellenberg told the court on Monday that he came to China after travelling through Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, and

He said a friend recommended a man named Xu Qing as a "This is a case about Xu Qing. He is an drug smuggler and a liar," quoted Schellenberg telling the court. But Xu was presented as a witness by prosecutors.

Two Chinese men were also involved in the case - one was sentenced to life in jail, while the other was given a suspended death sentence.

Canadian on Monday voiced "extreme concern" over the "arbitrarily" sentencing Schellenberg to death.

"It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our friends and allies, that China has chosen to arbitrarily apply death penalties in cases, as in this case facing a Canadian," Trudeau said at a press conference.

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 20:40 IST