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Press Release June 12, 2013; Release Canadian Native John Graham - SD Supreme Court Had No Jurisdiction

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From John Graham
May 15, 2011

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    My life has tailspinned into suffering and hopelessness since 2003 because of a whisper campaign, false allegations and hearsay. I am innocent of the convictions imposed upon me. I have never engaged in harm to anyone. I have not participated in any way in Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash's unresolved homicide.
                                                                                         — John Graham

    John Graham is a member of the Yukon Tutchone Nation and a Canadian citizen. He is a responsible family man who raised five children and now has nine grandchildren. Until 2003, Graham was an active member in his Yukon community as a mentor for Indigenous traditions, Indigenous land entitlements' law researcher, and international lecturer and advocate to build support for environmental protection.

    From 1973 to 1976 over 60 AIM members and supporters died violently on or in locations immediately adjacent to the Pine Ridge Reservation, a period recorded in history as ‘The Reign of Terror in South Dakota’. It was during this period Anna Mae Aquash, a Canadian Indian who supported AIM, was murdered. Over twenty years later John Graham was wrongly accused by American authorities for her murder.

    Graham is fighting for acquittal and repatriation after his forced removal from Canada by extradition. The allegations against him were based on deeply flawed hearsay "evidence" that would not have stood in a Canadian court.

    Graham is innocent of all charges. He is a peace-loving individual with a reputation for warmth, generosity and respect for other people.

    The Kafkaesque Persecution of John Graham

    In the early 70s Graham finished residential school then went to the USA in search of a sister who was separated from his family at an early age. In 1974 he was 19 and fortunate to meet Anna Mae Aquash, a fellow Canadian, who inspired him to learn more about his native culture since she was an instructor at the Red School House in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    Aquash befriended Graham and encouraged him to become a member of the American Indian Movement. Since Aquash was involved with AIM leaders, her safety was in jeopardy with both law enforcement and AIM members who suspected she might be an informant. As Canadians, Aquash depended and trusted Graham’s help and protection to transport her safely from the safe house in Denver to the safe house in South Dakota during the fall of 1975. Graham never saw Aquash again after bringing her to South Dakota, but records indicate Aquash was alive in December 1975 and in January 1976. The body of Aquash was discovered in February 24, 1976 and the autopsy indicated death occurred 7 - 10 days before the autopsy.

    In the late 1980s and 90s a whisper campaign of false allegations and hearsay emerged involving Graham with the murder of Aquash, and eventually reached the Internet in its beginning years in the mid-1990s. By 2003 Graham was charged with her murder by the US Federal government; 2007 he was extradited to the USA; 2009 the US government dropped the original federal murder charge against him but the State of SD re-charged him and added felony-murder charges.

    In 2010 he was found NOT guilty of the State of South Dakota murder charge, but guilty of a South Dakota felony-murder. As an American Indian, Graham should never have been charged under State Jurisdiction. As a Canadian, Graham was denied basic fundamental justice under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedom since felony-murder is not a crime in Canada and not an extraditable offense under the Extradition Treaty.

    John Graham has suffered several egregious miscarriages of justice, beginning with the prosecution’s theory that the alleged murder occurred in December 1975 which totally contradicts the original autopsy report that the murder occurred in February 1976. Graham’s extradition was also an egregious miscarriage of justice since it was solely based on hearsay evidence which was completely discredited at his trial.

    John Graham is innocent of all charges and continues his fight for acquittal and repatriation to Canada. His hope lies with the Canadian government to uphold not only his fundamental rights according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, but the rights of all First Nations People of Canada who are also American Indians according to the definition used in US law.

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