Regarding the Proposed Extradition of John Graham
February 24, 2004
We are writing to you regarding the situation of John Graham. He visited Sweden on our invitation in 1984 to carry out a speaking tour, which was very successful.
He is a Canadian aboriginal man from Whitehorse, Yukon. He is a father to eight children, a community organizer, and an advocate for aboriginal issues. John Graham was arrested on a U.S. indictment in Vancouver on December 1, 2003, and is currently awaiting an extradition hearing.
John Graham is charged with the murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, who was his friend and colleague in the American Indian Movement during the mid-1970s. John has always maintained his innocence of this crime which occurred in South Dakota 28 years ago.
Leonard Peltier, a fellow activist in the American Indian Movement, suffered an extradition from Canada based on fabricated evidence and false affidavits presented by the FBI. The former justice minister and judge who allowed the extradition, Warren Allmand, has since said that he would never have agreed to the extradition had he known some affidavits and evidence presented by the U.S. were false.
In a recent statement of support, Leonard Peltier himself said, "I fear that John will not receive a fair trial in the U.S. anymore than I did. I must remind you, it is court record that the FBI lied to extradite me back to the U.S."
Leonard Peltier's subsequent trial has been widely recognized as a travesty of justice, attracting criticism from human rights organizations and activists including Amnesty International, Nelson Mandela and Jesse Jackson.
Because Leonard Peltier's case was based on matters directly connected to the charges against John Graham, I am deeply concerned that the evidence presented may be false and groundless.
For these reasons, it is our hope that Canada's Department of Justice will prevent a "rubber-stamped" extradition, and will instead thoroughly scrutinize the evidence presented by the U.S.
We are firmly opposed to the extradition of John Graham, and we hope you will also oppose this extradition. But at the very least, we hope you will take whatever actions are at your disposal to ensure extra attention is given to the extradition of John Graham. In the wake of Leonard Peltier and Maher Arar, Canada must not facilitate - either knowingly or otherwise - another human rights tragedy.
Please keep us informed of developments with John Graham's case.
We look forward to your reply.
Kjell Andersson, Chairman