[Ppnews] Black activist resisting deportation - Gary Freeman Petition

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 2 14:36:27 EST 2006


Petition: Man's life at risk in Chicago
Joseph Pannell faces extradition to U.S.

Accused of shooting police officer in 1969
Dec. 29, 2005. 01:00 AM
HAROLD LEVY
STAFF REPORTER

Chicago prison guards could take revenge on Joseph Pannell if the
Mississauga man is returned to the U.S. to face charges in the shooting of
a police officer 36 years ago, an online petition claims.

The petition, launched by Pannell's family this week, asks federal Justice
Minister Irwin Cotler to deny a U.S. extradition request on the basis that
"there is a real possibility of retaliatory punishment due to the nature
of the allegations, in particular by guards at Cook County Jail where a
recent grand jury has found severe mistreatment of detainees." The
statement refers to a September 2004 report accusing the Cook County
sheriff's office of covering up a 1999 beating of 49 inmates.

The petition also expresses concern for Pannell "at the hands of the Chicago
police, whose patterns of abuse, including torture, of suspects in custody
have been documented by the respected organization Human Rights Watch and
others."  U.S. authorities have said that Pannell belonged to the
revolutionary Black Panthers — which Pannell denies — and that he shot a
white police officer, Terrence Knox, in the arm near a Chicago school on
March 7, 1969. Pannell's lawyer has said Pannell acted in self-defence to
save his own life. If Pannell is returned to Chicago he would face
attempted murder charges and it is very likely he would await trial in
Cook County Jail.

The petition says the allegations against Pannell "relate to an incident which
occurred over 35 years ago in the highly charged atmosphere of racial tension
and police repression then present in the African American community of
Chicago."

Pannell lived in Mississauga for 13 years under the name Gary Douglas Freeman.
He was arrested at gunpoint on July 27, 2004, outside the Metropolitan Toronto
Reference Library where he worked as a researcher. Justice David Watt paved
the way for Pannell's extradition on Nov. 25. Pannell remains in jail while
Cotler decides whether to extradite him. He has appealed Watt's decision.
Natercia Coelho, Pannell's wife, said she launched the petition Monday at
http://www.freemandrum.org. to show Cotler that supporters believe the
extradition would be wrong. Coelho said about 50 people from North America
signed the petition in the first 48 hours.

Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for the Chicago Sheriff's Department, which
runs the Cook County Jail, said yesterday he didn't wish to comment on the
petition's allegations.    Justice Canada spokesman Chris Girouard told
the Star it would be inappropriate for Cotler to comment because "the
minister has to decide whether to surrender Mr. Pannell to the United
States."




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