[Ppnews] Joseph Pannell will fight Ottawa's decision to allow his extradition on decades-old charges

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 6 08:45:27 EST 2006

November 3 - Minister of Justice Vic Toews signs the order of 
surrender for extradition to the United States.

Lawyer John Norris says Gary Freeman cannot be surrendered by 
Canadian authorities within the 45 days provided by the Extradition 
Act while his appeals in the case are outstanding. One appeal 
involves a judge's decision that there was enough evidence for the 
case to be referred to the Minister of Justice for consideration.

Lawyer Julian Falconer argues that the Canadian federal government 
has demonstrated its inexperience on racial issues, with Justice 
Minister Vic Toews making a decision that ignores the realities of 
racism and wholesale denial of civil rights in the United States in the 1960s.

Application for a judicial review of the Minister's order will be 
made (Extradition Act, Section 57).

:: A Heartfelt Thank You from Gary Freeman

Dear family, friends, and supporters,

By now you have been informed of a decision by Minister Vic Toews to 
order my extradition surrender to the United States of America. While 
I had thought there existed the possibility that Minister Toews would 
simply rubber-stamp his portion of the extradition process, I was not 
prepared for and remain shocked by his wholesale rejection of your 
pleas for him to show humanitarian compassion and refuse to extradite.

So, I am very sad to think that you all may consider your righteous 
efforts on my behalf to have been in vain. This could lead to 
thoughts that any individual acts of kindness, compassion and 
humanitarian conviction will lead to naught. Nothing is further from the truth.

Your letters, your signatures on our petition, your participating in 
events on my behalf have demonstrated the beauty that is humanity. 
Nothing can ever destroy that.

We are now embarking upon a new phase in this good fight. Please do 
not lose faith in the power of right to prevail over might. Because 
of you, I am able to carry on. Because of you, I know I must.

Lawyer vows to fight man's extradition in '69 shooting



The legal team for alleged former Black Panther Joseph Pannell will 
fight Ottawa's decision to allow his extradition on decades-old 
charges of shooting a police officer.

Lawyer Julian Falconer argued yesterday that the federal government 
has demonstrated its inexperience on racial issues, with Justice 
Minister Vic Toews making a decision that he said ignores the 
realities of racism in the U.S. society of the 1960s. "The racial 
climate -- that is, the wholesale denial of civil rights -- that was 
part of the process," Mr. Falconer said in a telephone interview.

"He has an obligation to consider all the aspects in determining 
whether it's fundamentally unjust to send this man for trial."

Instead, Mr. Falconer said that Mr. Toews did not consider "the full 
context of fairness" in deciding to allow the extradition to proceed. 
"He did not. He showed a complete lack of understanding, with respect 
to the minister."

Mr. Falconer said that there are several possible grounds for an 
appeal of the minister's decision, including the racial issue, and 
said that it will happen concurrently with an appeal of the actual 
extradition order.

"It's typical in an extradition scenario, because you delay the 
initial appeal. You delay that appeal pending the results of the 
minister's decision," he explained.

Mr. Pannell is wanted in the United States to face attempted-murder 
charges in connection with the 1969 shooting of Chicago policeman 
Terrence Knox, whose right arm was partly paralyzed.

Mr. Pannell jumped bail twice in the early 1970s and fled initially 
to Montreal, where he assumed the name Gary Douglas Freeman. He moved 
to Mississauga in 1987.

For nearly four decades, he lived in Canada, where he married and had 
four children who are now adults. His life on the run ended in July 
of 2004 as he left his job at the reference library in Yorkville. 
About to get into a car his wife had brought to fetch him, he was 
instead collared by immigration officials.

In an affidavit, Mr. Pannell has said that he fears for his safety 
and believes he would not get a fair trail. The shooting occurred 
during a period of tense race relations, the year after Martin Luther 
King Jr. was slain.

Mr. Knox, the long-retired policeman who was shot, said this spring 
from his home in Orland Park, a Chicago suburb, that he wants his day 
in court.

"Let's have a trial," he said. "If he's innocent, I'll be the first 
person to shake his hand. If he's guilty, I'll be the first to slam 
the door behind him as he sits in jail."

The Freedom Archives
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