Canadian drug smuggler faces retrial as China says 15 yrs too lenient

Canadian drug smuggler faces retrial as China says 15 yrs too lenient

At the appeal hearing, prosecutors said the sentence was too light and improper - arguing Schellenberg was highly likely to have been part of a worldwide drug smuggling operation and had played a major role in smuggling the drugs, the statement said.

"Due to the provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed", he added.

Chinese authorities also detained Alberta teacher Sarah McIver over what they said was a work-permit issue, but she has since been released after more than a week and custody and has returned to Canada.

Asked about the Canadian's detention at a press conference Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was "not aware of the specifics of the case".

Both China and Canada have said that McIver's case is different from Kovrig's and Spavor's. It added that Canadian diplomats were in court for the appeal.

Global Affairs Canada, the government department that manages Ottawa's diplomatic and consular relations, confirmed that the Canadian teacher is back home without naming the person.

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A Dalian government news portal said this week Schellenberg had smuggled "an enormous amount of drugs" into China.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland did not mention the woman in calling for the release of the other two Canadians last week.

Previously, two Canadians - Michael Spavor who is a consultant on North Korea, and former diplomat Michael Kovrig - employed by thinktank International Crisis Group, were detained by China on suspicion of "harm to national security". 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.

Schellenberg could face a much more severe penalty, including death, when he is retried. She has since been released on bail and remains under surveillance as she prepares to fight extradition to the US, which accuses her of fraud and lying to banks about business activities in Iran.

McIver said her niece like to travel and had been to China before, but only as a tourist.

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