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China upholds verdict and death sentence in appeal of Canadian Robert Schellenberg


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China upholds verdict and death sentence in appeal of Canadian Robert Schellenberg

A Chinese court rejected Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s appeal against a death sentence ruling late Monday.

Schellenberg was sentenced to death in China on charges of drug trafficking in mid-January 2019. The sentence overturned an initial 15-year prison term issued in November 2018. Schellenberg was accused of being involved with an operation that sought to smuggle 222 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from China and first tried in 2016.

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With the court upholding the death penalty sentence, the next and final step in the Chinese legal process is a mandatory review by the Supreme People’s Court, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said. While there’s no timeline for the issuance of a final verdict from the Supreme People’s Court, and the review process can last “an indeterminate amount of time,” typically it has taken between six and 12 months, the spokesperson added.

Verdicts in the cases of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — both charged with espionage — are also expected to be reached later this week, with Spavor’s verdict anticipated as early as Tuesday evening.

Spavor, an entrepreneur, and Kovrig, a former diplomat, were both arrested in China nine days following the detention of Meng Wanzhou, a Huawei executive and the daughter of the company’s founder on Canadian soil. Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018, on U.S. fraud charges related to trading with Iran.

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