Canadian sentenced to death in China amid Huawei flap

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

China denies detained Canadian has diplomatic immunity

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday chastised China over the detention of two Canadians following the arrest of a senior Chinese executive at the request of the United States.

"It was wrong for the court of first instance to regard Schellenberg as an accomplice in an unsuccessful crime and impose a light sentence", prosecutors said.

Schellenberg's lawyer Zhang Dongshuo told Reuters he will likely appeal the sentence. 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.

Hyder said the conversation touched on how to shield Canadian-Chinese business relationships from the diplomatic spat sparked by Canada's arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the behest of the U.S.

Schellenberg was detained by Chinese authorities back in 2014, accused of being instrumental to drug smuggling within the country as well as having connections to global drug trafficking, the South China Morning Post reported.

The Canadian, who claims to be innocent and accuses China of framing him, appealed his case - but his appeal apparently backfired as the Chinese prosecutors considered his sentence too lenient and demanded a harsher one.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, was sentenced to death for drug smuggling.

While unusual, it is not unprecedented for a foreign national to be sentenced to death in China.

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Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, being held in China on suspicion of endangering national security, is not entitled to diplomatic immunity, China's foreign ministry said on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, China's government dismissed Trudeau's statement that Kovrig enjoyed some form of diplomatic immunity. In a statement, the court alleged he was involved in organized global drug crimes.

The Dalian court said Schellenberg, who was detained in December 2014, played a "key part" in an global drug trafficking syndicate.

"Many factors in this case raise serious questions of concern: particularly, that the retrial was rushed through so quickly and that state-run media drew such deliberate attention to the case", William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, told AFP.

"The Chinese approach is to make a point, and I think even their ambassador here has suggested that they've made their point", said Hyder.

China has not directly linked its arrest of the two Canadians with Meng's arrest in Canada.

According to the court, Schellenberg was recruited to help smuggle 222 kilograms of methamphetamine from a Chinese warehouse to Australia. They produced a witness, Xu Qing, to testify against the Canadian.

Hua, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, called on Poland to allow Chinese diplomats to visit the suspect, Wang Weijing, and handle the case in accordance with the law. British resident Akmal Shaikh was executed in 2009 for smuggling heroin.

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