Sarah McIver returned to Canada after arrest in China

Sarah McIver returned to Canada after arrest in China

A Chinese court said Saturday that a 15-year jail sentence for a Canadian national charged with drug smuggling was too "lenient" and remanded his case for a retrial.

The Canadian government said earlier it was following the case but has released no details.

The Higher People's Court of Liaoning Province heard an appeal Saturday from Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who was given a 15-year prison sentence last month for his involvement in global drug-trafficking activities.

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.

In the decision, the court noted that Canadian diplomats were in court for the appeal.

It was not immediately clear when the retrial will take place.

Both China and Canada had said McIver's case differed from those of Kovrig and Spavor.

UK defence minister says he has grave concerns about Huawei
It said however, that it would still use some of the company's equipment for products deemed to not be at the core of the network. The US has claimed the Chinese government under Xi Jinping (inset bottom) used Huawei devices to spy on American companies.

Drugs offences are routinely punished severely in China.

In December 2009, China executed convicted drug smuggler Akmal Shaikh of the United Kingdom for smuggling 4,030 grams of heroin.

Sarah McIver, a Canadian teacher who was detained in China for working illegally, has been released and returned to Canada, according to the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail.

The European Union says it supports Ottawa in the struggle over three Canadians detained in China, and that two of them are being blocked from seeing a lawyer. It is not known where the two are being held.

China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters that it was aware of reports she had been released, and referred further questions to the "relevant authority". It did not elaborate.

According to China's Criminal Law, persons who smuggle, trafficking, transport or manufacture opium of not less than 1,000 grams, heroin or methylaniline of not less than 50 grams or other narcotic drugs of large quantities shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of 15 years, life imprisonment or death and also to confiscation of property.

Meng was released on bail in Vancouver, where she is under private guard at one of the two homes she owns there.