Saturday, October 16, 2010

Alex Hundert and the criminalization of dissent

Community organizer Alex Hundert was arrested on June 26th and held for three weeks in advance of the G20 Summit for alleged involvement in organizing the protests. He was released on bail conditions which precluded participation in any public demonstrations and on Sept 13th the government lost a court challenge to his release.

Three days later he was re-arrested for a supposed breach of those bail conditions - participating in a panel discussion at Ryerson U. organized by Judy Rebick - and the Crown presented him with a new set of bail conditions which he refused to sign - no direct or indirect posting to the internet, no assisting, planning, or attending any public meeting or march, and no expressing of views on a political issue.

Toronto Media Co-op :

"On the night of Wednesday October 14th, Alex was told by the security manager at the Toronto East Detention Centre that he had to sign the bail conditions or face solitary confinement in “the hole”, without access to phone calls or writing paper. He was put in solitary confinement after an initial confrontation with correction staff where he resisted initial attempts to make him sign. He was denied the right to call his lawyer, and told that if he didn’t sign now, they would revoke the bail offer and he would be held in solitary confinement until his eventual release from prison."

Guelph Mercury :

"His lawyer, John Norris, noted Hundert couldn’t confirm details of that account himself because of the bail conditions.

Brendan Crawley, spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General, offered no comment, saying that the matter is before the courts."

Pogge :

"This is the state telling a citizen who hasn't yet been found guilty of a crime that his views are already regarded as illegitimate before he's even expressed them."

Pogge, again :

"...looks like an attempt to make an example out of Hundert — to use him to intimidate other activists. If he's truly guilty of conspiracy and incitement to commit illegal acts that should be determined at trial. But the police don't get to pass judgement and impose the sentence unilaterally which is what they appear to have done with the help of a compliant Justice of the Peace. And they certainly don't get to use the threat of solitary confinement to force someone to accept bail conditions that wouldn't survive a Charter challenge."

Dr. Dawg :

"Well, I am not an anarchist, but I'm prepared to stand with Alex Hundert against a corrupt justice system that has now torn up the Charter of Rights, and a complaisant media that is turning a blind eye to it."

The Star :

Justice of the Peace Inderpaul Chandhoke told the court the new conditions also restrict Hundert from speaking to the media.

Nathalie Des Rosiers, of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says they plan to write the Attorney General in Hundert’s defence.
“Speaking to the media does not threaten public safety,” she said. “These bail conditions are only aimed at silencing speech.”

Clayton Ruby, constitutional lawyer, speaking not in reference to Hundert but to the broader issue :

"The targeting of activists should be of concern to all of us. The erosion of Charter rights, the trampling of civil liberties, and the criminalization of dissent is an attempt to destroy the foundation of our society. Everyone has an equal stake in this."




Anonymous said...

I love it that Obama is repeatedly referred to as a "Community organizer" to give him credibility with everyday people. He gets elected President of the most powerful nation on earth. A man of the people and all that.

"Community organizers" in Canada, however, are treated as if they were domestic terrorists "conspiring" against...what? State oppression and corporate welfare? I'd say the State is way more busted than poor ol' Alex Hundert on that charge.

peace, babies!

Anonymous said...

I was proud to call myself Canadian once.

I miss that feeling.

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