Pubdate: Mon, 08 Aug 2005
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Vancouver Courier
Author: Naoibh O'Connor, Staff writer
Cited: B.C. Marijuana Party


Kirk Tousaw is ready for battle. The campaign manager for the B.C.
Marijuana Party is determined to derail U.S. attempts to extradite
Marc Emery, along with two other marijuana activists, for
marijuana-related federal charges south of the border.

Whether he and supporters will succeed is in question, but Tousaw, who
learned of the arrests right after finishing a law society bar exam,
is convinced ordinary Canadians are behind the cause and oppose U.S.
attempts to influence drug policy in this country.

"I think the Canadian taxpayer is going to be footing the bill for a
legal battle that will stretch for many years. It's unfortunate
because I don't think the Canadian people have any appetite to see
Marc Emery shipped down to the United States to do life in prison."

Two of the charges-conspiracy to produce marijuana and conspiracy to
distribute marijuana seeds carry penalties ranging from 10 years to
life, while a third-conspiracy to engage in money laundering, carries
a penalty of up to 20 years.

The length of time for extradition varies, depending on appeals. Some
experts have suggested Emery's case could take six months to two years
or even longer.

Christian Girouard, an Ottawa-based spokesman for the Department of
Justice, said the longest extradition case he's aware of is the
current case against American Renee Boje, who faces 10 years to life
for medical marijuana charges in the U.S.

Her case started in 1999. This year, Boje's lawyers sought a judicial
review of the minister's decision, which is her last course of appeal.

The U.S. filed 130 extradition requests last year. Among them were 42
for narcotic charges, 22 for fraud, 10 for smuggling goods and aliens,
seven for manslaughter, eight for assault and sexual assault, one for
environmental terrorism and 15 for money laundering.

A member of the Department of Justice's international assistance unit
acts as a lawyer for the Americans.

In previous years, Canada has asked for conditions to be met before
extraditing certain individuals, but they've only related to special
protection in jail, according to Girouard.

Special protection was requested for a man extradited to Mexico for
murdering his gay partner and for a man from the Czech Republic who
was a member of the Roma community and faced persecution from others
in jail.

Canada also refuses to extradite individuals who face capital

Tousaw calls the prospect of Emery winding up in an American prison a
call to arms, arguing the brand of justice the U.S. meets out would
shock the average Canadian.

"I don't think the States is going to back down, but at some point you
have to say, "No more,' because if they can come for a non-harmful,
nonviolent person like Marc Emery, who has never set foot in the
United States throughout the course of any of these alleged crimes,
who can they come for next?," he said. "Can they come for the store
owner who sells cuban cigars to American tourists who take them back
across the border? Can they come for the internet gambling site that
services U.S. citizens? Can they come for the ministers that perform
[gay] marriages for U.S. couples? Where does it end and when does
Canada say, 'We're a different country and we're going to do it our
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