[Ppnews] Day one of Tre Arrow's extradition hearing

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 28 11:04:51 EDT 2005


Day one of Tre's extradition was full of surprises.
First, every supporter, journalist and lawyer who
attended was subjected to unprecedented security
measures, including two sets of metal detectors
and X-rays of all bags and purses. Second, Tre's
lawyer, Tim Russell, argued so convincingly against
extradition that the government lawyer had to ask for
an overnight adjournment so she could attempt to
marshal some kind of counter-argument.

Tre Arrow is in a Vancouver courtroom this week
challenging the government's plan to ship him back to
the US. The 30-year-old forest activist from Portland
is the target of an aggressive FBI smear campaign
aimed at discrediting and imprisoning so-called
"radical"
environmentalists.

Wearing a white dress shirt and khaki trousers, Tre
appeared more healthy than he's been since his arrest
in March 2004. His long, curly hair was tied back and
rolled into a smooth knot in back. He smiled and waved
at friends and family in the courtroom during breaks
in the proceedings.

Fifteen supporters, including people from Portland,
San Francisco, Seattle, and Halifax, watched the
hearing, along with eight journalists and five armed
bailiffs.

Government lawyer Rosellina Dattilo, acting on behalf
of the United States, is demanding Tre's extradition.
But Tim Russell, Tre's lawyer, demonstrated to the
court today that the evidence against Tre consists
of hearsay, rather than physical evidence or testimony
from unbiased witnesses. Hearsay is not considered
legal evidence in a court of law. Tre's alleged
co-conspirators agreed to name him as the ringleader
of
the actions in exchange for very light jail sentences.
The two informants were threatened with up to forty
years in prison, but served only three. Tre is facing
life in prison if convicted.

At 2 pm today, Dattilo asked Justice Kirsti Gill to
adjourn the hearing until 10 am tomorrow (June 28)
while she attempts to unearth any case law or
precedents that would effectively rebut Russell's
arguments.

Canadian judges in extradition hearings are not
required to weigh the evidence and determine the
likelihood of guilt or innocence. Authorities can
simply testify that they do have evidence of some
kind, and that they intend to take the accused to
trial.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the US will
actually bring Tre to trial in Oregon, even if he
loses his hearing and appeal and Canada extradites
him. And if he is tried, the state could very well
find it
impossible to prove he had any connection to the arson
of gravel trucks and logging trucks in 2001.

Thousands of people across North America and around
the world have come to Tre's defense since he was
taken into custody over a year ago. Letters,
donations, gifts and offers of help are pouring into
the Tre Arrow Defense Committee, the group reports
this week.

Tracie Park, a member of the Tre Arrow Defense
Committee, told reporters: "Tre is dedicated to
protecting ancient forests, and to protecting all
living things -- the network of life on this planet."

She said the FBI is overzealous, to say the least, in
prosecuting forest activists.

"We feel strongly that this is a part of a campaign to
stifle dissent in the United States, and especially
activists who are effective, like Tre," Park said.
"The charges against him are absurd. Tre has no chance
of getting a fair trial in the United States because
there's so much hysteria over what they're calling
'eco-terrorism.' In the interest of justice, Canada
must refuse to extradite him."

Regular updates and biographical info on Tre Arrow can
be found here: http://www.trearrow.org



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