China court orders retrial for Canadian

Charlene Craig
January 1, 2019

Citing a statement released on the official website of Liaoning Higher People's Court on Wednesday, China's Global Times newspaper reported that "the court will accept and hear the case of appellant Schellenberg at 2:00pm local time Saturday".

A Chinese government news portal, runsky.com, identified Schellenberg as Canadian and said he was accused of smuggling an "enormous amount" of drugs.

Sarah McIver was arrested earlier this month because of a complication with her work visa.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was tried in 2016 but his case has been publicized by the Chinese press following the December 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei, on USA charges related to trading with Iran.

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The sentencing of foreign drug dealers in China has drawn a lot of attention overseas and some foreign governments strongly oppose the results, but Chinese judicial principle is never affected, which rules that "anyone who commits crimes in the territory of China would be judged equally as said by China's Criminal Law", Ruan Qilin, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China severely punishes those caught smuggling or trafficking drugs, including foreigners.

McIver was arrested after Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians detained in China on charges that they're a threat to national security.

In 2009, China executed a Briton, Akmal Shaikh, on charges of smuggling heroin despite his supporters' protest that he was mentally ill.

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McIver, who was detained and sentenced to administrative punishment for illegal employment, was teaching English at a school somewhere in China (the exact region she was working in has not been made public).

The other two are a Canadian diplomat on leave and a Canadian businessperson trading with North Korea.

Authorities have released no details of the accusations against Schellenberg.

Both China and Canada have insisted McIver's case was different from Kovrig's and Spavor's.

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Meng was arrested at the request of United States prosecutors and faces extradition on charges of violating sanctions on Iran. Meng has said she is innocent.

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