MPs call for probe of Peltier extradition [Canada]

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 21 00:51:09 MST 2002


MPs call for probe of Peltier extradition

By KIM LUNMAN Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - Page A6
http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/TGAM/20021120/UPELTN
/nat\
ional/national/nationalTheNationHeadline_temp/19/19/39/

OTTAWA -- The controversial case of Leonard Peltier resurfaced in the House
of Commons yesterday after some MPs called on the federal government to hold
a public inquiry into the native activist's extradition from Canada to the
United States 26 years ago.

NDP MP Bill Blaikie introduced a private member's bill calling for the
return of Mr. Peltier to Canada. He was convicted in 1977 of murdering two
agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation near Wounded Knee, S.D.

"We believe this is an enduring stain on Canada's record as a country that
values of human rights," Mr. Blaikie said. "Mr. Peltier was turned over to
the FBI on the basis of evidence that is now known to be manufactured and it
seems like the right thing for Canada to do is to try to make amends for
having done this."

Opposition MPs called on the federal government to hold an independent
commission of inquiry into the circumstances that led to Mr. Peltier's
extradition from Canada in 1976. He is currently serving two consecutive
life sentences for the offences.

There have been calls on Canada to intervene in the case in recent years
since a key witness, Myrtle Poor Bear, revealed she made up evidence that
was used in the extradition.

Ms. Poor Bear told a privately commissioned legal inquiry she made up the
story implicating Mr. Peltier under pressure from the FBI.

The federal government maintained the extradition was handled properly after
an internal review of the case by the Justice Department.

But Justice Minister Martin Cauchon refused to comment yesterday. "It was
something that took place a long time before me," he said. "My habit is not
to comment on any extradition case, so it's going to be that way for that
case as well."

Canada's involvement goes back to February, 1976, when Mr. Peltier was
arrested in a one-room schoolhouse in Hinton, Alta.

He was arrested six months after FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams
were killed on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation while investigating the
theft of a pair of cowboy boots.

The murders followed a gunfight between FBI agents and a group of about 50
natives. Mr. Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement, acknowledged
being present at the battle. A native also died.

Canadian Alliance MP John Reynolds also joined Mr. Blaikie and the Leonard
Peltier Defence Committee in Canada in calling for a public inquiry into Mr.
Peltier's case.

"I think there's some real questions that need to be asked," Mr. Reynolds
said. "It seems to me, we sent him down there [to the United States]
improperly."

Warren Allmand, a former Liberal MP, has also joined the call for an
inquiry, saying the extradition was flawed.
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Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
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