US calls Chinese death sentence against Canadian 'politically motivated'

US calls Chinese death sentence against Canadian 'politically motivated'

US calls Chinese death sentence against Canadian 'politically motivated'

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland conferred Tuesday and "expressed their concerns about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated sentencing of Canadian nationals", U.S. deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement Wednesday. "We believe it is inhumane and inappropriate, and wherever the death penalty is considered with regard to a Canadian we speak out against it, " Freeland said.

Canada has warned citizens travelling to China about a risk of "arbitrary enforcement" of laws after the Schellenberg retrial, and the detention of up to 13 Canadians in the weeks following Meng's arrest last month.

China-Canada ties turned icy in early December after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies was arrested in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Asked to respond to the fact that Australia, among other countries, has backed Canada in criticizing China for arresting a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, and a Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, Hua was dismissive.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday that Ottawa had formally applied for clemency for Schellenberg, as it usually does for citizens condemned to death overseas.

"I will say that it is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our worldwide friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply the death penalty, as in this case, facing a Canadian", Trudeau told reporters on Monday.

In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, attends his retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in Dalian, northeastern China's Liaoning province on Monday.

Beijing issued a similar response hours later, calling on Chinese citizens to "travel cautiously" after a Chinese citizen was "arbitrarily detained on the basis of a request of a third-party country", an apparent reference to Meng's arrest.

"We really understand how hard the situation is, and I think the Schellenberg family has our country's sympathy".

China is urging its citizens to be cautious about going to Canada.

His original sentence was 15 years.

Diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing have quickly deteriorated since Meng's arrest to the point there are fears they could damage Canada's business relationship with its second-largest trading partner.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying gestures during a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Beijing on September 15, 2017.

Freeland said she had spoken to Schellenberg's father on Monday, adding it had been "a very emotional conversation for him".

According to his lawyer, the Canadian will have 10 days to appeal the sentence.

Asked whether it had concerns about due process, he said:"In China there is generally a problem of lack of transparency in trials".

Global rights groups condemned Schellenberg's sentence, with some saying it was too severe and may have been politically motivated.

"China should respect other nations' judicial procedure and rule of law, and it should not use foreign citizens as pawns".

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