portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article global

indigenous issues

John Graham pleads not guilty, family shocked by swift extradition

His court hearing took less than 15 minutes. A prosecutor told a magistrate judge that Graham is a flight risk and needs to be detained. Graham was sent to the Pennington County Jail.
Harriet and John
Harriet and John

==> Saturday December 8, 2007 @ 10:30 am at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Side)
==> Press Conference with Statements from the family of John Graham and supporters

Friday December 7, 2007 - The family of John Graham and supporters of John Graham will be making statements to the media about John Graham's extradition to the United States on Thursday December 6, 2007 after a refusal by the Supreme Court of Canada to hear Graham's appeal.

His supporters continue to criticize the unjust extradition process and the allegations that Graham murdered Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Anna Mae Pictou. Former FBI regional director Norm Zagrossi has himself stated it "looked like a cover-up" (CBC The Fifth Estate). Rex Wyler, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author, has raised many doubts about the evidence against John Graham.

John Graham has received support letters from a wide range of organizations including Canadian Labour Congress, Native Youth Movement, Chief Capilano of the Squamish Nation, BC Teachers for Peace and Global Education, BC Hospital Employees Union, Stopwar.ca, Council of Yukon First Nations, BC Federation of Labour. Amnesty International has also stated concern about the lack of a fair trial.

Both the B.C. Supreme Court extradition judge and the B.C. appeal court ruled there were deficiencies in the record of the case given to the courts by U.S. officials. However the 1999 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Canada lowers the burden of proof to include hearsay evidence, which would not be admitted in a Canadian criminal court. Graham and his lawyers have previously stated they would welcome a trial in Canada, where the fake evidence could be exposed.

A key witness Arlo-Looking Cloud recanted his testimony stating that he was coerced and under the influence of alcohol. Another prosecution witness Kamook Banks admitted she was paid $43,000 to cooperate with the FBI. One witness Al Gates that U.S. Attorney Robert Mandel stated would be available for trial had been dead for nine months. Another witness Frank Dillon has denied making any incriminating statements against Graham.

Supporters claim there are parallels to Leonard Peltier, who was extradited from Vancouver in 1976 based on FBI affidavits signed by Myrtle Poor-Bear, who claimed to be Peltier's girlfriend. It is now widely reported that Poor-Bear had never met Peltier and had been intimidated by the FBI. In 1979 former US solicitor general Warren Allmand acknowledged this and formally apologized. 50 Canadian MPs have since submitted an amicus curiae recognizing the grave mistake made in Peltier's extradition.

Between 1973-75, an estimated 67 American Indian Movement members or associates were killed in South Dakota by Bureau of Indian Affairs police and a paramilitary squad- Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOON's). By this time, the FBI had also targeted AIM with a counter-insurgency campaign entitled COINTEL-PRO (Counter-Intelligence Program). COINTEL-PRO was also used to target communist & socialist groups, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the Black Panther Party.

- 30 -


Graham pleads not guilty in Aquash slaying

Dec 7, 2007
Associated Press

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) Four years after he was arrested for the 1975 killing of a fellow American Indian Movement activist, 52-year-old John Graham pleaded not guilty today at his first appearance in Rapid City federal court.

Graham is charged with first-degree murder for the slaying of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash (PEEK'-too AHK'-wash) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Her body was found in February 1976.

Graham, a Canadian, had been in custody in British Columbia since June. He was extradited to the U.S. yesterday.

His court hearing took less than 15 minutes. A prosecutor told a magistrate judge that Graham is a flight risk and needs to be detained. Graham was sent to the Pennington County Jail.

Rapid City lawyer John Murphy was appointed to represent Graham.


Family of 1975 slaying suspect shocked by swift extradition

Friday, December 7, 2007
CBC News Nova Scotia

The family of B.C. resident John Graham, who is accused in a decades-old murder in the U.S., say they are shocked and angry he was extradited without notice hours after the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal to stay in the country.

His daughter told CBC News she doesn't understand why the family wasn't given a chance to say their goodbyes, especially since he was already in custody.

"We weren't given anything. Nobody would hear anything. We just wanted to see our dad at least before he was extradited," said Naneek Graham, one of his eight children in Canada.

Early Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Graham's appeal of a lower court ruling granting extradition. The top court did not provide a reason, as per usual for such applications.

Graham's lawyer, Greg DelBigio, told CBCNews.ca that there has been no formal confirmation, but he believes Graham was whisked from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre around 9 or 10 a.m. PT to South Dakota, hours after the court decision.

Graham, a former Yukoner who now lives in Vancouver, is accused of killing Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a Mi'kmaq activist from Nova Scotia, in 1975 during a time of protests in South Dakota by the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Graham's daughter says her father is being kept at Pennington County Jail in Rapid City, S.D., and he was scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon.

U.S. prosecutors allege the 30-year-old woman was killed on orders from AIM because they believed she was an FBI informant.

Earlier in protests by the group, two FBI agents had been killed by the demonstrators who had seized control of the village of Wounded Knee.

U.S. authorities say Pictou-Aquash fled to Denver out of fear for her life, but then was allegedly abducted by Graham and others and brought back for questioning by AIM members.

Another man, Arlo Looking Cloud, was convicted of first-degree murder in Pictou-Aquash's death in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison.

Looking Cloud told FBI agents that he saw Graham kill the woman, but later recanted. Graham has maintained his innocence.


To write to John Graham, imprisoned at Pennington County Jail, address envelope as follows:

John Graham
307 St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701

To write or call the jail:

Pennington County Jail
307 St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 394-6116

To contact the sheriff's office:

Don Holloway, Sheriff

Pennington County
Sheriff's Office
300 Kansas City Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 394-6113


Information on John Graham's defense:



homepage: homepage: http://ourfreedom.wordpress.com