[Ppnews] Help Bring Gary Freeman Home to Canada
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Mar 1 10:09:55 EST 2010
Help Bring Gary Freeman Home to Canada.
Why is the Canadian Government trying to prevent Gary Freeman from
returning to his Toronto-area home?
Please take action to help reunite a Canadian family (details on what
you can do at bottom of this email)
Douglas Gary Freeman (the former Joseph Pannell), an African
American, is married to a Canadian, and they have four Canadian-born
children. He has been a well-loved and respected member of the
community since his arrival in Canada in 1974. The Canadian
government is trying to prevent Mr. Freeman, who has lived the
majority of his life in Canada, from returning home.
In 2004, Mr. Freeman was sought for extradition to the US to face
decades-old charges stemming from an incident involving a white
police officer in the racially and politically charged Chicago of
1969. The officer, interviewed in 2008 by the National Post, said,
"He and I were both very young when all this started. And they were
very turbulent times, on both sides of the coin."
They were turbulent times indeed. For many in the African-American
community, Chicago, like most U.S. cities, felt like a city under
armed occupation. That year, a committee was formed whose title
painfully illustrated the social scene at the time: The Committee to
End the Murder of Black People. The police murders of 11 young black
men in 1969, so long a part of daily life that it hardly made the
news, had reached such proportions that the community had to stand up
and name this police practice for what it was: outright murder.
According to The Boston Review, "In the late 1960s, Chicago police
led the nation in the slaying of private citizens, who were
euphemistically characterized as 'fleeing felons' to mask the routine
use of excessive force by police against racial minorities. The
police also exploited seemingly benign offense categories, such as
disorderly conduct, vagrancy, and loitering to bully minority youths
and adults who had the audacity to challenge police authority."
Court documents proved that Mr. Freeman's presence and location in
Canada was known to authorities since 1974, yet U.S. authorities
waited 30 years to seek his return.
A 2008 PLEA BARGAIN
After 3 years and 7 months of pre-extradition custody in Canada, Mr.
Freeman voluntarily returned to Chicago in February, 2008, where he
accepted a prosecution proffered plea bargain agreement of a guilty
plea to a single count of Aggravated Battery for a sentence of 30
days in the Cook County Jail, 2 years of probation, and a major
contribution to a Chicago police charity. It was a plea that was
satisfactory to the officer, who told The National Post, "If he
[Freeman] were to have served 15 years in prison he'd be 75 when he
got out: he wouldn't survive that. I couldn't tolerate that. I'm not
out for blood."
Mr. Freeman was released from custody in March 2008 and successfully
completed his probation without incident in February 2010.
Mr. Freeman began the process of applying to return to Canada while
on probation, during which Mr. Freeman's family was struck by the
death of his father-in-law in Montreal on October 31, 2009.
Mr. Freeman sought and received permission from U.S. authorities to
attend the funeral but the Canadian government refused him entry for
reasons of "serious criminality".
CANADA THROWS UP WALLS
Further, the Canadian government has deemed Mr. Freeman
"inadmissible" to Canada on "national security grounds" due to the
false, unsubstantiated allegation that Mr. Freeman had been a member
of the Black Panther Party (BPP), which the government of Canada
alleges, again without supporting evidence, "is an organization which
has engaged in terrorism". This allegation is based entirely on
incorrect newspaper articles.
The Black Panther Party is not listed anywhere in the world as a
terrorist entity, either by the U.S., Canada, or the United Nations,
and former high-profile members and associates of the group continue
to travel freely to Canada for speaking engagements. Former members
of the BPP are even members of the U.S. Congress and tenured
Court documents verify Mr. Freeman's assertion that he was not a BPP
member, and former Conservative Minister of Justice Vic Toews wrote
in 2006 that the US would have to prove the BPP allegation, conceding
that the government of Canada had no proof.
Before Superior Court of Ontario Justice Ian Nordheimer in 2004,
Canadian government prosecutors essentially conceded that Mr. Freeman
was NOT a threat to society.
Mr. Freeman holds a U.S. passport and has already flown twice since
his 2008 release so he is definitely NOT on a no-fly list.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Download our petition (at http://www.freemandrum.org), get 25 or
more signatures, and send the petition to us at: Family & Friends of
Gary Freeman, H - 110 Frederick Street, Toronto, Ontario M5A 4A9.
2. Write to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Please keep your
letter short, polite, and to the point. You are asking Mr. Kenney to
exercise his ministerial discretion under Section 25 of the
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in granting a temporary
resident permit on humanitarian and compassionate grounds so that Mr.
Gary Freeman (the former Joseph Pannell) can be re-united with his family.
While the facts of this case are shocking, please do not make
additional editorial comments about either Mr. Kenney or immigration
policy in general. This is a simple plea to reunite a Canadian family.
(no stamp required--handwritten notes are best)
Jason Kenney, MP
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
kennej at parl.gc.ca
If you are emailing, please cc Public Safety Minister Vic Toews,
toews.v at parl.gc.ca, and also send a copy to freemandrum at web.ca
3. Arrange a meeting with your local Member of Parliament to discuss
this issue. Get in touch with us first to find out what would be
needed to be prepared, at freemandrum at web.ca
4. 3. Contribute to the costs of this family reunification campaign.
Write cheques to "Toronto Action for Social Change" (add "Freeman" in
memo section) and send to: TASC, PO Box 73620, 509 St Clair Ave West,
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
5. More info: www.freemandrum.org
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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