China sentences Canadian man to death for drug smuggling

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BEIJING, China

A court in China has sentenced a Canadian man to death for drug smuggling.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg 36 was arrested in 2014 and accused of planning to smuggle almost 500lb (227kg) of methamphetamine from China to Australia.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November 2018.

“I am not a drug smuggler. I came to China as a tourist,” Schellenberg said just before the verdict was announced.

However, following an appeal, a high court in the north-eastern city of Dalian on Monday sentenced the Canadian national to death.

Canada has condemned the latest ruling.

“It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply the death penalty, as in this case facing a Canadian.” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Responding to the news about the sentencing of his nephew, Schellenberg aunt said: “All I can really say at this moment is, it is our worst case fear confirmed,”

She added:  “Our thoughts are with Robert at this time. It is rather unimaginable what he must be feeling and thinking. It is a horrific, unfortunate, heartbreaking situation. We anxiously anticipate any news regarding an appeal.”

He has 10 days to appeal.