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(en) Canada, MONTREAL, Four Upcoming Trials: An appeal for your solidarity and support

From Jaggi Singh <jaggi@tao.ca>
Date Thu, 21 Nov 2002 07:57:05 -0500 (EST)


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> Dear Friends,
This letter is an appeal for your support and solidarity to help defend
myself against various criminal charges that I will be facing, along with
various co-accused, in the upcoming months. The charges -- which will be
judged at four separate trials -- are related to political protest
activity in Montreal and Quebec City, dating back to October 2000. I have
pleaded not guilty in all cases, and have refused any deals with the
crown.

I am facing possible prison time, as well as severely restrictive
conditions, if convicted of the charges. In the two trials that will take
place before juries, the crown attorneys have already indicated they are
seeking a prison penalty of several months. I have already spent a total
of 20 days in prison before getting bail in two of these cases (17 days in
Quebec City, and 3 days in Montreal).

The four trials, described in more detail below, relate to three protests:
i) the anti-G20 protests in Montreal in October 2000 in front of the
Sheraton Hotel; ii) the anti-FTAA protests in Quebec City in April 2001;
iii) an anti-war demonstration in Montreal in September 2001.

Tangibly, the support I'm asking for is as follows:

a) Witnesses: If you were present at any of these protests, and
specifically observed my conduct and behaviour, you could be a useful
witness in my defence. Please get in touch (contact info is included
below). The trial descriptions below may help you remember the protests,
some of which happened more than two years ago.

b) Video Evidence: Any video footage from any of the protests outlined
above that includes my participation could be very useful in my defence.
Please get in touch as indicated below.

c) $$$: For all of the charges I'm facing, I will be defending myself,
with the occasional help of a legal advisor (who more-often-than-not works
pro bono). To date, I have not raised any money for personal legal costs,
having instead forwarded donation offers to the Quebec Legal Collective,
or the G20 Defence Committee, and paying my personal costs out-of-pocket.
However, as my trial dates get closer, I need to raise money
independently. This personal legal fund will help pay for various costs in
the preparation of my legal defense (photocopying, long distance phone
calls, court motions) as well as travel expenses to and from Quebec City.
Moreover, I may need to help subsidize the costs of various witnesses who
will travel to Quebec City or Montreal (one key witness is from Chicago,
for example). Any extra money from this fund will be donated to the
defence of other political activists facing charges in the Montreal-area.
The importance of money cannnot be underestimated in a legal defence, so
please do contribute if you can. No sum is too small.

d) Translation: During the preparation period prior to the trials, and
during the trials, I will need occasional help translating, from English
to French, various releases and communiques.

e) Moral Support: If you can't be a witness, nor offer financial support,
I still need your moral support. It's important for me to know that there
is support out there. So, don't hesitate to send along notes of
solidarity, and if you live in Montreal or Quebec City, please do attend
the trials if you have the time. A packed courtroom makes a big
difference.

If you can help in any way, please contact me by e-mail at jaggi@tao.ca or
leave a message by phone at 514-278-4533. E-mail is preferable.

The four trials I am facing are:

1) G20 Trial in Superior Court (April 7-18, 2003, MONTREAL) --> Along with
co-accused Jonathan Aspireault-Masse, I am facing the charge of
"participation in a riot" relating to the anti-G20 protests in front of
the Sheraton Hotel in Montreal on October 23, 2000. Originally, more than
a dozen people were charged with rioting, but all charges were dropped
except against Jonathan and me (there are still less serious charges to be
faced in municipal court; see next section). The trial will be before a
jury for two weeks in April. I was arrested on October 23, 2000, _after_
the protest, in a targeted arrest by the Montreal police. The police
evidence against me claims that my anti-IMF speech riled up the crowd, and
that I announced the possibility of medical assistance on the demo's sound
system after the riot police and police calvary attacked the crowd. I am
not actually accused of any _act_ in particular, except that I was present
at what the police term a "riot". I have readily admitted to giving a
speech, providing medical advice, as well as handing out flyers.

2) G20 Trial in Municipal Court (February 2003, MONTREAL) --> At least two
dozen protesters are facing charges in municipal court for illegal
assembly and mischief in relation to the same G20 protest as described
above. The case is being heard before a judge in Municipal Court. The
Municipal Court charges are less serious, but still important. The trial
has already begun this past summer, and will continue on February 4-7, 17,
19, & 24-28 (2003).

3) Anti-war Protest Trial in Municipal Court (January 17, 2003, MONTREAL)
--> On September 23, 2001, at least 1000 people gathered at the Norman
Bethune Statue near Concordia University for an anti-war protest, in the
racist aftermath of September 11. I spoke at this demonstration on a
microphone, before marching to the Complexe Guy-Favreau. I was stopped by
police after the demonstration, and briefly detained in a police cruiser
and then released. Months later (in February 2002) I received a letter in
the mail, indicating that I was to be charged for breaking my bail
conditions from Quebec City: specifically, I am forbidden from using a
megaphone anywhere in Canada, and I'm forbidden to be a "leader" (no joke,
those are my actual conditions to this day). I knew my conditions well,
which is why I announced at the beginning of my speech that I was using a
"microphone", not a "megaphone".  Anyhow, the police can't tell the
difference, and I'm going to trial before a judge in January.

4) FTAA Trial in Superior Court (Spring 2003, QUEBEC CITY) --> I am still
facing a trial related to my arrest in Quebec City on April 20, 2001. The
case will go to trial sometime next spring, either crammed in between the
trial dates above, or afterwards. I will get a date for trial by jury on
January 13, 2003 in Quebec City. I am facing the charge of "participation
in a riot". The "possession of a dangerous weapon" charge -- the
teddy-bear launching catapult -- was quietly dropped. Still, I face up to
six months in prison if convicted of the riot charge.

Again, I will be actively defending myself against all charges, but need
your help as indicated above.

I also encourage people reading this e-mail to stay in touch with the
Libertas Legal Collective (formerly known as Quebec Legal) about the many
others still facing charges as a result of the anti-FTAA protests in April
2001. The Collective has a webpage at: http://www.quebeclegal.org.

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you in advance for your support.
In solidarity and struggle,

Jaggi Singh,
Montreal

tel: 514-278-4533
e-mail: jaggi@tao.ca


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