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John Graham released on bail

January 15, 2004


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 complied.

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 addiction.

“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