Chinese court orders new trial for Canadian in drug trafficking case

Chinese court orders new trial for Canadian in drug trafficking case

Evidence showed it was possible he played an "important role", said the announcement by the Higher People's Court of the northeastern province of Liaoning.

The relevant governmental departments confirmed with Global Times Schellenberg's identity as a Canadian citizen.

A Chinese court has demanded a retrial of a Canadian citizen on drug smuggling charges after prosecutors said his sentence of 15 years was too light, which could further worsen relations between Beijing and Ottawa.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of electronics giant Huawei Technologies, is wanted in the United States on allegations she lied to American banks as part of an effort to get around sanctions on Iran.

Global Affairs Canada Spokesman Richard Walker confirmed on Friday that "a Canadian citizen, who was detained in China this month, has been released and has now returned to Canada".

The European Union says it supports Ottawa in the struggle over three Canadians detained in China, and that two of them are being blocked from seeing a lawyer.

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Qiu Guoghong, China's Ambassador to South Korea, said he looked forward to taking a train from Seoul to Beijing via Pyongyang. The US has also expressed support for the event through a US-South Korea working-level meeting held last week in Seoul.

Canada's foreign ministry has acknowledged that the released woman had been detained in connection with a work permit problem and that there was no reason to believe her detention was linked with the other two.

The last foreigner to be tried for drug smuggling was British national Akmal Shaikh, who was caught in 2007 while smuggling over 4 kilograms of heroin into China.

According to a court statement published online after the appeal hearing, he was found guilty of drug smuggling and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, ordered to pay about $22,000 (150,000 yuan) and to be deported.

Both China and Canada had said McIver's case differed from those of Kovrig and Spavor.

Chinese foreign ministry, earlier this month, has said McIver has been undergoing "administrative punishment" for working much illegally.

Two other Canadian nationals, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor, remain under detention in China on suspicion of "engaging in activities that endangered China's national security".

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