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John Graham released on bail
January 15, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – John graham’s release was approved today in BC
Supreme Court by Assistant Chief Justice Dohm.
Graham, who was arrested in Vancouver for the murder of Canadian aboriginal
activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash nearly 28 years ago, is expected to be
released early tomorrow.
The conditions which were set earlier for Graham’s bail required that he
remain at an approved residence, leaving only to meet with his attorney or
to attend court, or for a medical emergency. Five individuals were also
required to sign statements agreeing to accompany him on such occasions, and
Graham must also report daily to a local police station.
The conditions will be revisited within weeks and relaxed if Graham has
Additional assurances were provided which include $20,000.00 in property
sureties and $25,000.00 in cash. The cash amount was raised over the past
three weeks by the John Graham Defense Committee, and was contributed by
individuals and human rights supporters throughout North America and Europe
demonstrating widespread support — Graham is well-known internationally as
an advocate for aboriginal rights.
In a tense moment during the hearing, the crown objected to the $25,000.00
in cash because it had not been directly contributed by the five supervising
individuals. In response, Dohm resolved the objection by ordering the five
to sign statements making them liable for $10,000.00 each, should Graham
fail to appear at an upcoming hearing.
Graham’s supporters who filled the courtroom gallery were pleased with the
outcome. Many who support Graham are convinced not only of his innocence,
but also in an apparent FBI cover-up around Pictou-Aquash’s death.
They point to the first autopsy where an FBI-sanctioned pathologist failed
to notice a bullet wound in the victims head, determining instead that she
had died from exposure. An FBI agent attending the autopsy also failed to
identify Pictou-Aquash even though he had interrogated her just weeks
before. Her body was buried as “Jane Doe” and her hands were cut off and
sent to Washington DC for identification.
Once identified as Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a second independent autopsy was
requested by the family, which quickly confirmed the cause of death as the
result of a bullet wound in the head.
Graham has always denied the charge, asserting that he and Pictou-Aquash
were close friends.
“When you review the summary of evidence presented to John’s lawyers by US
prosecutors, it seems this case has been built largely on hearsay,” says
Matthew Lien, the spokesperson for the John Graham Defense Committee. “The
only direct evidence appears to be a statement by John’s co-accused Arlo
Looking Cloud, who says he watched Graham pull the trigger.”
Looking Clouds’ statement has drawn great scepticism because of
his condition when he was arrested — Looking Cloud has been living as a
homeless person in Denver for the past several years struggling with alcohol
“There is a lot of concern that the US Government might coerce and knowingly
present a false statement from Looking Cloud, just as they did in the
extradition of Leonard Peltier,” said Lien, referring to the widely
criticized extradition of the well-known Native American activist.
Lien flew to Vancouver for the bail hearing and to meet with Graham once he
is released. “We are very pleased with the ruling because now John can be
among friends and supporters, and help with the work that lies ahead in
preparing his defense.”
Convinced that Graham would not receive a fair trial in the US, he is
expected to oppose the extradition. Graham’s lawyers anticipate notice of
the extradition hearing to be filed within the coming weeks.
More information on John Graham and the defense committee can be found at
their website, www.grahamdefense.org.
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For information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Matthew Lien, Media Relations
(867) 633 3513