China holds appeal hearing for Canadian sentenced to death

BEIJING — A Chinese court has held an appeal hearing for a Canadian who was sentenced to death for drug smuggling in a case that has deepened a diplomatic rift between the countries.

No decision was immediately announced after the hearing Thursday morning. Robert Schellenberg was initially sentenced to 15 years in November, only to be handed the death sentence at a hastily scheduled January retrial.

That came after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, at the request of the U.S. in December. Days later, two Canadians were detained in China in apparent retaliation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Schellenberg's sentencing in January and accused China of "arbitrarily" applying the death penalty.

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