Chinese courts are set to hand out verdicts in the cases of two Canadian nationals who have been detained in China.
A decision in the case of Robert Schellenberg, who was detained by Chinese authorities in December 2014, and was sentenced to death on drug smuggling charges in January 2019, is expected late on Monday, a source with direct knowledge told Global News.
Meanwhile, a verdict for Michael Spavor, one of the two Michaels who were detained in China for over two and a half years, will be announced later this week — as soon as Tuesday evening ET (Wednesday morning in China), the source confirmed.
For Schellenberg, the Chinese court can call a retrial, uphold verdict or reduce the death sentence. Should the court uphold the death penalty sentence, the next and final step in the Chinese legal process is a mandatory review by the Supreme People’s Court.
Spavor will either be innocent or guilty. He along with Michael Kovrig was detained in China in December 2018 just days after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver by RCMP at the behest of American authorities.
The U.S. has charged Meng with violating sanctions on doing business with Iran and other counts of corporate espionage, and is seeking her extradition. Meng and Huawei, along with Beijing, have denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
While China has denied that Kovrig and Spavor’s arrests were a retaliatory measure, officials have also suggested that the pair could be released if Meng is allowed to return home to China and the case against her is dropped. Canada has refused to entertain such an exchange.
— with files from Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson