Prime minister decries Australian sentenced to death in China

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on Monday expressed sadness about a fellow citizen who was sentenced to death in China recently.

“I and the government are very sad and concerned that an Australian citizen, Karm Gilespie, has been sentenced to death in China.
“Our thoughts are with him, his family and his loved ones,”Morrison said.
Morrison said the government would continue to support Gilespie and have raised the issue with its Chinese counterparts.

He added that Australian authorities were working to assiduously to secure his release.

Gilespie, 56, was sentenced in the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Saturday and has 10 days to appeal the verdict. He was arrested in 2013 with more than 7.5 kilogrammes of methamphetamine in his check-in luggage.
Gilespie had worked as an actor before he became a business investor and toured giving motivational speeches and business training.

The family, however, urged the media to respect privacy at this difficult time.
“We are very saddened by the situation.
“We also request that friends and acquaintances of Gilespie refrain from speculating on his current circumstances, which we do not believe can assist him,” the family said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia advocate consistently for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, through every diplomatic avenue available to the country.

“We regard it as undermining shared human dignity and inconsistent with principles of criminal justice that allow for rehabilitation,” Payne said.
The death sentence comes amid an ongoing political and trade row between China and Australia.