An Australian national has been sentenced to death in China, seven years after he was arrested on drug trafficking charges in the south of the country.
The man, identified by Chinese and Australian media as Cam Gillespie, was arrested in 2013. He was caught with more than 7.5 kilograms of methamphetamine in his luggage at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou.
Authorities in China confirmed the death sentence on Saturday, which prompted a swift response from the Australian Foreign Affairs Department.
In a statement, the department said:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the verdict made in his case. Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances for all people. We support the universal abolition of the death penalty and are committed to pursuing this goal through all the avenues available to us.”
The case is the latest blow to diplomatic relations between the two countries, with Australia recently calling for an international inquiry into how the coronavirus began and spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
China retaliated by banning the import of Australian beef, imposing new tariffs on Australian barley, and recommending their citizens do not visit Australia.
Receiving a death sentence for drug smuggling is not uncommon in China. Last year, two Canadians were handed death sentences for drug-related offenses following the arrest of Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou.
A death sentence in China is usually carried out by firing squad.