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Letter of support by the Grand Chief of the Council of  Yukon First Nations

Whitehorse, Yukon

January 06, 2004
 
Attn: The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice
312 West Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario KIA 0A6

Re: John Graham

Dear Sir:

As you are aware, John Graham, a citizen of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations which is a member of the Council of Yukon First Nations (the CYFN), was charged in the United States on March 30, 2003, with the first-degree murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash who was found dead on the Pine Ridge reservation located in South Dakota in 1976. At that time, Mr. Graham was working with the American Indian Movement (the AIM). Mr. Graham was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, 2003, and will soon face an extradition hearing so that he can be transported to the United States to stand trial for the charge of first-degree murder.

The CYFN has a responsibility to advocate on behalf of our citizens to ensure that their rights are respected and the integrity of our legal system is upheld and preserved. Therefore, CYFN urges that you ensure that the extradition proceedings related to Mr. Graham are fair, transparent and consistent with the principles of due process under the laws of Canada, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In light of the unlawful tactics employed to extradite Leonard Peltier, an activist of the AIM, to the United States in 1976, the CYFN has concerns about the expedition proceedings related to Mr. Graham.

In the case of Mr. Peltier, many have asserted that the United States presented false evidence, including false affidavits, to obtain the extradition. To that end, the CYFN seeks assurances from you that any evidence presented at the expedition hearing will be examined and scrutinized rigorously and Mr. Graham will be provided the right to appeal any decisions.

I request that you direct your officials to provide updates to the CYFN with respect to this matter.

Sincerely,

Ed Schultz
Grand Chief