China release detained Canadian women

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Prosecutors insisted Schellenberg had been given a lenient punishment in the first trial that was "obviously inappropriate" with the latest evidence, the statement said Saturday.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen, will be put on trial by Northeast China's Liaoning Provincial High People's Court on drug smuggling charges, according to runsky, a website run by the Dalian Radio and Television Station, on Wednesday.

Many observers believe the detentions of the two Canadians were in response to Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Global Affairs Canada Spokesman Richard Walker confirmed on Friday that "a Canadian citizen, who was detained in China this month, has been released and has now returned to Canada".

A Dalian government news portal said Schellenberg was a Canadian and that this was an appeal hearing after he was found by an earlier ruling to have smuggled "an enormous amount of drugs" into China.

In 2009, China executed a Briton, Akmal Shaikh, on charges of smuggling heroin despite his supporters' protest that he was mentally ill.

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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.

According to previous reporting from Global News, McIver received an administrative penalty for illegal employment, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing. They have each only been allowed to see Canadian diplomats once since being detained.

Both China and Canada had said McIver's case was not related to those of Kovrig and Spavor, who were detained on allegations of harming China's national security.

China has demanded Canada free Meng, who is fighting extradition to the United States, where she would face fraud charges that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years jail for each charge.

Authorities have released no details of the accusations against Schellenberg.

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