14/01/2019 13:50 GMT

Canadian Robert Schellenberg Sentenced To Death In China In Drug-Smuggling Case: Reports

Chinese courts had ordered a retrial for Schellenberg, which raised the possibility of a harsher sentence.

China Stringer Network / Reuters
A general view of the Intermediate People's Court of Dalian in Liaoning province, China, Jan. 14, 2019.

A Canadian accused of smuggling drugs into China has been handed a death sentence after a one-day retrial, according to media reports.

In December, Chinese state media raised the case of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who at that point was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was originally detained in China in 2014, with a trial that began in 2016. He was sentenced in 2018, according to the Globe and Mail.

Earlier: China court orders retrial for Canadian after prosecutors claim new evidence. Story continues below.

Courts heard an appeal of that conviction on Dec. 29, 2018, and ordered a retrial for Monday, raising the possibility of a harsher sentence.

Schellenberg was again found guilty of taking part in an international drug-smuggling ring, an offence punishable by death in China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

An expert on the Chinese legal system told the National Post that it appears China had raised Schellenberg's case to pressure Canada to release previously detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

"China has moved from merely detaining Canadians as hostages to actually threatening — subtly, to be sure — to kill a Canadian who would otherwise not have been executed if it does not get what it wants," Donald Clarke said.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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