from the BC Hospital Employees'
February 1, 2005
Re: HEU Opposition to Extradition for John Graham
Please be advised that the Provincial Executive of the Hospital Employees' Union, representing 42,000 members, has voted to endorse John Graham's efforts to stay in Canada.
The United States, under their extradition agreement with Canada, wants Mr. Graham to be tried in a US court for the alleged murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash twenty-eight (28) years ago in Pine Ridge. Both Graham and Pictou-Aquash are Canadian.
The extradition hearing is being conducted in the BC Supreme Court and will be likely be decided on extremely narrow legal questions of identity, with no regard to the truth. Ultimately, it will become a decision for the federal Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler whether or not to exercise his ministerial discretion to deny the extradition order.
We add our voices to the extensive list calling on Mr. Cotler to allow Mr. Graham to stay in this country, and to conduct the trial here if it is to proceed at all. Mr. Graham has always maintained his innocence and the case against him is riddled with errors, inconsistencies and by all appearances manufactured and coerced evidence.
It seems Graham is paying the price for refusing to serve as the FBI's pawn. He has said that FBI agents visited him in the Yukon in 1989 and 1995. The first time they promised to go after him if he didn't accuse others of murdering Pictou-Aquash. An RCMP officer was present for the second visit when Graham was offered "immunity" if he cooperated.
Our government should learn its lesson from the case of Leonard Peltier. There is no justice in the US courts for the activists involved in the 1970s American Indian Movement. It would be a travesty of justice to send Mr. Graham to a similar fate. At least in Canada he may get a fair trial.
We will be writing to Minister Cotler to express our views and encourage him to protect the sovereignty of Canada and Canadian citizens by refusing to approve this extradition.
FM:jh(John Graham Feb 1 05)