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Concerns raised over arrest of activist
Thursday December 04, 2003 at 02:22 PM
A leading B.C. human rights advocate says Canada will be making a grave
mistake if it extradites native rights activist John Graham to the United
States. Graham was arrested in Vancouver on Monday in connection with the
high-profile murder of another aboriginal activist – Anna-Mae Pictou-Aquash.
She was shot dead in 1975 two years after joining native militants at the
occupation of Wounded Knee.
But questions about the FBI's involvement in her death have never been
Jennifer Wade, the founder of the Vancouver branch of Amnesty International,
was at the extradition hearing of Leonard Peltier – another man connected to
In 1976, Peltier was sent back to the U.S., where he was convicted of the
murders of two FBI agents and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
The Canadian government has since lobbied for the U.S. to release him from
Now Wade says Canada will make the same mistake if it extradites Peltier's
friend, John Graham, for the murder of their colleague, Pictou-Aquash.
"She was very intelligent and knew far too much, and I think she was gotten
rid of," she says."And John Graham definitely feels it was the FBI that got
rid of her, and they're trying to pin the murder on him."
Wade notes Graham was one of the founders of the American Indian movement
along with Peltier and Pictou-Aquash.
Wade says she doesn't know why police decided to move in on Graham this
week, because he had been living in Vancouver for years.
American officials have until February to file an extradition bid for
Graham. In the meantime, he remains in custody.
© Copyright CBC 2004