Update: Non-Status Algerians Face Criminal Trial
The sitting judge, H. Jolicoeur, reputed to be tough on activists,
informed the defendants that the crown will proceed indictably. The
second court appearance is set for Aug 8th. The bail conditions that
prohibit the defendants to associate or to visit Ottawa -- outside of
mandatory court appearance and in the presence of legal counsel -- remain.
Authorities aim to criminalize and dissuade non-status people from
organising to defend there rights is clear. Upon arriving at the Elgin
street court house, defendants were subjected to searches and had to clear
a metal detector installed at the entrance of the designated courtroom.
Several public liaison officers from MELT (Major Events Liaison Team),
involved with the brutal police operation, were lined up along the walls
monitoring people's every move. The atmosphere of intimidation was
heightented by the obvious attempts made by plain-clothes officers to
listen in on supporters conversations. Police officers filled the
courtroom. Motorcycle police escorted the defendants and their supporters
to well outside the city limits.
Once in Hull, the defendants and their supporters organized a rally.
Members from the Justice Coalition for Adil Charkaoui, Sophie Harkat (wife
of Mohamed Harkat, also detained under a CSIS security certificate like A.
Charkaoui), spoke about the racist scapegoating of Arab and muslim men
that has destroyed the lives of hundreds of Canadian families.
Simultaneously, solidarity delegations interrupted government offices
across Canadian cities to bring attention to the Non-Status Algerians
struggle. No One Is Illegal-Vancouver and Ocap-Immigration in Toronto,
delivered letters to Immigration Canada and Attorney General Norm Sterling
offices, respectively, to support the demands for both an independent
public inquiry into the brutal police operation on May 29th, and the
dismissal of the criminal charges upheld against the Non-Status Algerians
and their comrades.
The battle is long and the Action Committee for Non-Status Algerians needs
your political and financial support to build a solid defense. Please
encourage groups in your cities and towns to keep the pressure up. Below
are several ways you can help:
===> DEMAND THAT THE CHARGES BE DROPPED: Please email, fax and mail
letters to Norm Sterling, the Attorney General of Ontario, demanding the
charges of mischief over $5,000 levelled against the 12 people arrested in
Coderre's office and the charges of obstruction and assault police against
Francine Dumas and Michele Marois be dropped immediately.
You might want to refer to the following points in your letter:
* If the 10 non-status individuals charged with mischief over $5,000 (one
of the most minor charges in the criminal code) are convicted, they will
nonetheless be deported, according to Immigration Canada's "Zero
Tolerance" policy with regard to "criminality". The penalty of deportation
to a country where they face the possibility of further violence and
torture is entirely disproportionate to the charges levelled against them.
* The outrageous brutality of the police's treatment of all those arrested
in connection with the occupation of Coderre's offices was such that it
undermines the credibility of the charges. It seems obvious that the
charges were laid arbitrarily, in order to justify the violence of the
police's treatment of protesters.
Please be sure to send a copy of your letter to the Action Committee for
Non-Status Algerians & No One Is Illegal (Montreal).
Norm Sterling, Attorney General of Ontario,
720 Bay Street,