March 1, 2004
Attn: Hon. Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice, Canada
Dear Dr. Cotler:
As you know, Canadian and First Nationsí citizen John Graham is presently facing extradition to the US to face FBI charges for murder. I am writing to strongly encourage you to do the right thing and not extradite Mr. Graham to the US.
The FBI does not have a credible reputation regarding the extradition of Canadian First Nationsí citizens. I agree with past Liberal Minister of Justice, Warren Allmand, that the FBI used false affidavits and evidence to have Leonard Peltier extradited from Canada. This extradition should never have been approved and the error and threat to international human rights should not be repeated.
There is strong reason to believe that Mr. Graham would not receive a fair trial in the US. This suspicion has been reinforced by the way Mr. Arlo Looking Cloud was recently convicted with inadequate defense on this same case.
Canada should make a priority of ensuring the international human rights agreements to which we are a party over and above extradition agreements which undermine these rights. Not only is Mr. Graham a Canadian citizen, but he is charged with the murder of another Canadian citizen, Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. If there were any basis for this murder charge, which I do not believe would stand up if it were assessed according to adequate legal standards, such a trial should be held in Canada.
I had the privilege of getting to know Mr. Graham when he was working to advance First Nationsí rights and ecological preservation in Northern Saskatchewan. I always found him to be a very intelligent, fair, open and gentle person. On more than one occasion I heard him speak respectfully and compassionately about what happened to Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.
Canadaís reputation in the area of international human rights is again on the line. I strongly encourage you to protect Mr. Grahamís rights and not allow him to be extradited to the US.
Please do the right thing.
Dr. Jim Harding
Past Director and retired Professor
School of Human Justice
University of Regina