Pubdate: Fri, 17 Jun 2005
Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada Web)
Copyright: 2005 CBC


VANCOUVER - The federal government has denied refugee status to an American 
woman who faces drug conspiracy charges in the U.S. for her role in a 
marijuana grow-op.

Renee Boje of Vancouver has been ordered to surrender to Canadian 
authorities in B.C,, to be deported to the U.S. to face the drug charges. 
Boje says she will comply with the order, but will continue to fight her 

Eight years ago, Boje was arrested and charged in California. A year later 
she arrived in Canada, where she applied for refugee status.

And she has been fighting to remain here ever since, claiming she had been 
helping a man produce marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Now she has received a decision from federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, 
denying her refugee status and ordering her to surrender to authorities.

In the decision released on Thursday, Cotler dismissed Boje's claim she 
would suffer "cruel and unusual punishment" at the hands of U.S. authorities.

He also dismissed her claim that she was the victim of political 
persecution. Boje has a three-year-old son, and worries she may not be able 
to see him if she ends up serving time in a U.S. jail.

"It would be devastating for him to have his mother ripped away from him 
and imprisoned in another country where I don't think he would be able to 
come and visit me even because my husband who is also Canadian is a very 
high-profile cannabis activist."

Boje's husband, Chris Bennett, runs a pro-marijuana website called "Pot 
TV". He began to rally support for his wife as soon as he learned of 
Cotler's decision.  "We're hoping that we can have some more justice in the 
courts that we've seen from Irwin Cotler."
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