China's death sentence for second Canadian 'cruel and inhumane': Freeland
Published Tuesday, April 30, 2019 11:34AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 30, 2019 4:57PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says that she is concerned about the "cruel and inhumane" death sentence China has issued to a Canadian involved in an international drug operation.
According to The Associated Press, a court in China issued either death or life sentences to 11 people who were convicted for producing methamphetamine.
The Canadian sentenced to death is the second Canadian this year to be given this sentence for drug-related charges, as diplomatic tensions remain strained. After Canada complied with a U.S. extradition request to arrest Huawei executive Meng Wanzho , China has retaliated, detaining two Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and has banned canola shipments from Canadian producers.
"We're very concerned by this sentence. Canada stands firmly opposed to the use of the death penalty everywhere around the world. We think that this is a cruel and inhumane punishment which should not be used in any country," Freeland told reporters on Parliament Hill on Tuesday morning.
"We are obviously particularly concerned when it is applied to Canadians," said Freeland.
In a later comment to reporters, Freeland said that the current situation with China is very difficult and she is following the case closely. “I do want to say that we are very seized of the matter,” she said.
On Monday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do more to push back on China, including appointing a new ambassador quickly and boosting help for farmers caught up in the spat.
Trudeau said that his government will "absolutely" be doing more on the canola issue and that an announcement would be coming "in a few days."
"We're looking towards smoothing over these difficulties, while at the same time we stand up for human rights, we stand up for the Canadians who are being arbitrarily detained in China right now. We’re going to continue to engage diplomatically," Trudeau said, calling the way China has been acting "not right."