Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

China sentences Canadian to death for drug trafficking

FILE- Flags of Canada and China are placed for the first China Canada economic and financial strategy dialogue in Beijing China Monday Nov. 12 2018 China sentences Canadian to death for drug operation
Patty Aguilar | 02 May, 2019, 19:11

Canadian citizen has been sentenced to death in China on drug-related charges, the second such ruling in a Chinese court this year amid escalating diplomatic and trade tensions between the two countries since Canada's arrest of a Huawei executive last December.

According to The Associated Press, a court in China issued either death or life sentences to 11 people who were convicted for producing methamphetamine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says that she is concerned about the "cruel and inhumane" death sentence China has issued to a Canadian involved in an global drug operation.

According to the court, Fan Wei and Wu conspired to manufacture and sell the drugs in 2012, and brought the others - described as "drug-making technicians" - on board.

In January, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, another Canadian, had a 15-year jail term increased to a death sentence - prompting condemnation from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"Canada has raised our firm opposition to the death penalty with China, and will continue to do so".

"We think this is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which should not be used in any country", Freeland added.

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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called the death sentence cruel and inhumane.

The US embassy in Beijing said it was monitoring the Swidan case. "We are obviously particularly concerned when it is applied to Canadians", she told reporters in Ottawa.

Fan Wei and the others sentenced Tuesday have the right to appeal, and the South China Morning Post reported that consular officials were at the hearing. The moves were widely seen as punishment for Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom company Huawei.

China also recently detained two Canadian nationals on national security grounds.

USA prosecutors have accused the Chinese corporation of conspiring to violate United States sanctions against Iran, an allegation denied by Huawei and Meng, who is out on bail but under surveillance in Canada while awaiting possible extradition to the US.

Weeks after those detentions, Trudeau fired Canada's former ambassador to China, John McCallum, for going off-script in the government's efforts to win the release of the two men.

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