injusticebusters logo

Jaggi Singh

Judge sides with Singh over fingerprinting complaint

Jaggi Singh

Judge Randall Richmond ruled a defendant facing summary offence proceedings in a municipal court cannot be compelled to give fingerprints.

"I conclude that a defendant cannot be compelled to give his fingerprints for a hybrid offence after the Crown has made an election to proceed summarily."

The ruling followed a complaint by Montreal activist Jaggi Singh, who is being tried in the Municipal Court of Montreal on a mischief charge.

Singh called the ruling is a victory for privacy rights.

"We all have our right to privacy and we all have a right to not hand over information to anybody we don't want to."

Singh was charged with a hybrid offence, meaning the prosecution could elect to proceed with a more serious indictable offence, or a less serious summary charge, which would be tried by judge alone. The crown chose the latter, leading Singh to argue that there was no reason for him to be fingerprinted.

Defendants are routinely compelled to provide their fingerprints and mugshots when facing summary charge proceedings in municipal court, despite their less serious nature.

Singh called the practice "completely inappropriate and illegal" and cited both the Identification of Criminals Act and a Supreme Court of Canada decision from 2009 — R. v. Dudley — to support his complaint.

The crown asked the judge to reject Singh's motion, arguing fingerprints allow police and the courts to better understand and consider a defendant's previous charges.


An appeal regarding January 2004 trial

On December 3, 2003 a motion was filed in Quebec Superior Court for a stay of proceedings due to unreasonable delay. The motion was accorded.

QUEBEC CITY FTAA RIOT TRIAL TO BEGIN IN JANUARY 2004

AN APPEAL FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY

After many delays, and close to three years after the large-scale protests against the Summit of the Americas and FTAA in Quebec City in April 2001, my trial in front of a Quebec City jury will begin on January 19, 2004, in just a little more than two months.

The trial has been scheduled for three weeks, and I am facing a penalty of up to two years in prison if convicted. A very likely sentence is at least a few months in prison. In a recent Summit-related case in Quebec City, the crown asked for four months in prison for a defendant convicted of the same charge I'm facing. Sentencing is still pending in that case.

I was initially charged with possessing a dangerous weapon -- a teddy-bear launching catapult -- as well as participating in a riot. The weapons charge has been dropped, but the riot charge -- which is serious -- still stands. I initially spent 17 days in prison waiting for bail on these charges after being nabbed off the streets by an undercover police snatch squad.

There were hundreds of protesters arrested and charged in Quebec City last April 2001. Many were acquitted, others were convicted, and many others made deals. The jury trials, which are for the more serious cases, began only recently. To date, there has been at least one aquittal, but also one conviction by a jury (an appeal is pending). Nothing can be taken for granted at a trial, no matter how bogus the charges. The Libertas Legal Collective continues to support Quebec City defendants, and they can be contacted at legal@tao.ca. A legal update about other accused is forthcoming.

Once again, I am making a personal appeal for your solidarity and support. Recently, I was acquitted, along with two co-accused, in another trial by a jury -- related to a protest in Montreal in 2000. One lesson I learned from that trial, where I represented myself, was the importance of being very assertive in asking for support beforehand, whether for witnesses or people who possess video footage, or for financial and moral support. On the eve of a very important trial, where I might face prison time if convicted, I again ask for your support in various important ways.

If you were involved in the protests at Quebec City, or you know people who were, please tell them to get in touch if they can help with any of the points below:

• VIDEO AND AUDIO EVIDENCE: The charges against me relate to the first day of major protests in Quebec City, when the fence was taken down (Friday, April 20, 2001). If you have footage of the Anti-Capitalist Carnival March, or any footage of me from that day, please get in touch ASAP. If you have already sent me your footage, please get in touch too; I need to reference your footage. Please get in touch by e-mail at BOTH jaggi@tao.ca and jaggisingh2003@yahoo.ca.

• WITNESSES: If you were present at the Anti-Capitalist March on April 20, 2001 (when the fence was taken down, at a demo organized by the CASA and CLAC), or you saw me on that day, your testimony could be very valuable. Please get in touch ASAP. (E-mail both jaggi@tao.ca and jaggisingh2003@yahoo.ca).

• OTHER ARRESTEES: If you were arrested in Quebec City, please get in touch. Your trial experience, and the evidence used against you, could be very useful to me at my trial. (E-mail both jaggi@tao.ca and jaggisingh2003@yahoo.ca).

• LEGAL TEAM: There is a lot of preparation to do BEFORE trial, including reviewing stacks of evidence and hours of videotape, as well as anticipating the crown's legal strategy. Whether you have formal legal training or not, your work on the legal team could be very helpful. If you live in Montreal or Quebec City and have some time to help prepare for trial in the coming weeks (or the trials of other Quebec City defendants), please get in touch. (E-mail both jaggi@tao.ca and jaggisingh2003@yahoo.ca).

• FINANCIAL SUPPORT: There will be significant costs involved with this trial, especially travel costs for out-of-town witnesses, as well as various costs in preparing a legal defence. Your donation, whether $10 or $100 or more is much needed. If you can donate toward my legal expenses, please get in touch at both jaggi@tao.ca and jaggisingh2003@yahoo.ca. Please consider also an in kind donation to the Libertas Legal Collective, which is supporting other defendants still facing trial. They can be reached at legal@tao.ca.

• MORAL SUPPORT: Even if you can't make a financial contribution, knowing that I have your moral support is important. Don't hesitate to e-mail any time during the trial process. I'll do my best to respond. You can reach me at at both jaggi@tao.ca and jaggisingh2003@yahoo.ca. ALSO, please do forward this appeal to any sympathetic contacts you might have.

UPDATE ABOUT OTHER TRIALS:

As many of you know, I have made previous appeals for support relating to other trials I'm facing. In total, I have been dealing with six separate trials. Here is a brief update about where things are at.

I won one of those trials -- related to the G20 protest in Montreal in October 2000. A Montreal jury declared myself and two co-accused not guilty of participating in a riot. The verdict in another G20 trial, on lesser charges with 30 accused in front of a single judge, is expected to be delivered in December.

Another trial, related to my participation in a protest against Benjamin Netanyahu at Concordia University, is in progress. After three days of trial in front of a judge, the case will resume on February 2004.

The Quebec City Trial in January (my fourth trial, in case you're keeping track) will be the biggest challenge of them all. The other two trials (for the grand total of six) relate to breaching conditions of release from Quebec City (for speaking with a microphone at an anti-war demonstration in September 2001, and for speaking at an immigrant rights demo against the WTO this past July 2003). These trials have been scheduled for next spring. The conditions against me have now been expanded so that I am now forbidden to amplify my voice by any means at any demo for any purpose whatsoever anywhere in Canada (I'm not making this up). Those conditions will be challenged in the coming months (or will be discarded if/when I win at trial, whichever comes first).

Despite all these trials, and other charges that have been withdrawn, I do not have a criminal record, and I'm confident that with proper preparation, I can win the other trials. More to the point, I'd like to continue to organize effectively on the various issues that are so important to all of us.

Your support and solidarity has been essential to winning these cases. Thank you for reading this appeal, and do stay in touch.

In solidarity and struggle, -- Jaggi Singh

November 1, 2003 Montreal


A slow process of ethnic cleansing

JERSUALEM, December 19, 2002 -- Today, in Tel Aviv District Court, a Palestinian worker, Jihad Abu Id, will be demanding his release from an Israeli prison. Abu Id has been detained for the last six months, ever since he was arrested for working in Israel without a permit.

Abu Id comes from a village called Bidu, located near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The normal process to deal with "illegal" Palestinian workers in Israel is to detain them for no more than a day, and then remove them to their village of origin in the occupied territories.

However, in the case of Abu Id, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior is trying to deport him to Jordan. The excuse: he's married to a Jordanian woman. According to Sharon Bavli, the state attorney at the Israeli Interior Ministry that is attempting to force the removal of Abu Id, his marriage to a Jordanian forfeits his rights to reside in Palestine itself.

Abu Id has been jailed for the last six months in Israel's Maasiyahu Prison, a special facility for deportees which, according to Israeli human rights lawyer Shamai Leibowitz, includes a whole section of Palestinians in similar situations to Abu Id.

Abu Id's is resisting his deportation by petitioning both the Tel Aviv District Court today, as well as at the Israeli Supreme Court in the coming weeks. At the latter tribunal, he will fight to re-establish his status as a Palestinian. Today in Tel Aviv, his lawyer, Leah Tsemel, will simply ask for his release on bail.

The decision in Tel Aviv today is crucial, according to Leibowitz. If Abu Id is released, and returns to Bidu in the West Bank, it will be difficult for the Israeli authorities to go in and grab him, due to the attention that will bring within the village, and perhaps beyond.

In Leibowitz's words, "This is about diluting the Palestinian population without attacting media attention". Abu Id's continued imprisonment is the only way the Israeli government might succeed in expelling him to Jordan.

Abu Id's family situation also speaks to the nature of the process of dispossession, and the long, quiet struggle for many Palestinians to establish their identity and basic right to reside in their own villages and towns.

Abu Id's father was illegally deported from Bidu to Jordan in 1970 by an Israeli military commander who issued a deportation order in territories that were illegally occupied after the Six Day War in 1967. That deportation was eventually determined to be illegal, more than a two decades later, and the family returned to Bidu in 1994, where Abu Id has lived for the past eight years.

According to government documents read by Leibowitz, the Israeli state attorney's office estimates between 50-60,000 Palestinians who they deem to be deportable from the occupied territories, for reasons similar to Abu Id.

Jaggi SinghTo engage in a mass search and expulsion of these thousands of so-called "illegal" Palestinians is not feasible on both a logistical and public relations level (although some in the Israeli right, which is becoming the mainstream, would forcibly "tranfer" all Palestinians tomorrow if they had their way). Instead, deportations happen quiety, one-by-one, in circumstances like Abu Id's. It's what Leibowitz has no hesitation calling "a slow process of ethnic cleansing".

Leibowitz also doesn't hesitate to underline the complicity of the Israeli courts in the expulsion policy of the Israeli goverment, calling the judicial branch "just a long arm of the political branch ... they all collaborate together."

A decision about Abu Id's release is expected later today in Tel Aviv.

-- Reported by Jaggi Singh in East Jersualem.

[For more info about the case of Jihad Abu Id and other Palestinian deportees, please contact Shamai Leibowitz in Tel Aviv at +972 3 670 4170.

Jaggi Singh(jag-@tao.ca) is a member of the International Soldarity Movement (ISM): www.palsolidarity.org. He is a writer and social justice activist based in Montreal, and a member of the No One Is Illegal campaign, an immigrant and refugee rights movement in Canada (nooneis-@tao.ca).]


Montreal protester fights ejection from Israel

MONTREAL - A Montreal-based activist with a history of involvement in Palestinian causes was refused entry into Israel Sunday and remains in detention there.

Predictably, the tempestuous Jaggi Singh was collared by Israeli authorities and ordered deported. Equally predictable was the reaction of his supporters, who described themselves as outraged.

"It's clear that Jaggi was refused entry because of his track record for fighting for social justice," said Stefan Christoss, a spokesman for Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and Solidarity International, a Montreal-based pro-Palestine group.

He conceded, however, that Mr. Singh's treatment was not particularly a surprise because more than 3,000 foreigners have been denied entry into Israel during the past year. Israel is one of the world's most security-conscious countries.

Mr. Christoss said Mr. Singh had travelled to Israel to "write about the injustices of the Israel occupation" and to "report on the situation in an unbiased manner."

Access to the occupied territories is restricted, even to journalists.

André Lemay, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said Sunday that he was "not aware of any specific reason for Mr. Singh's detention" but that, given his publicly stated views, it should not come as a surprise.

Mr. Lemay quoted from the department's travel advisory about Israel that warns: "Canadian travellers believed by the border authorities to be particularly sympathetic to Palestinian causes may be denied entry."

Mr. Lemay said consular officials have met with Mr. Singh and will assist him in any way possible, including helping him book passage back to Canada if he chooses to return. He has decided to stay on and fight the deportation order. A hearing will be held Monday.

Mr. Singh is a high-profile member of the antiglobalization movement and played a prominent role in the protests at the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver and the Summit of the Americas last year in Quebec City.

He has been involved in Palestinian causes, notably the violent protests that led to the cancellation of a planned speech at Concordia University by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Singh, who has a knack for attracting news coverage, is himself a writer. He contributes to a number of alternative publications, including www.rabble.ca and www.electronicintifada.net, and has contributed to mainstream publications such as The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Christoss said Mr. Singh arrived in Tel Aviv on Saturday morning. He was stopped at Israeli customs at Ben Gurion Airport, and "questioned for several hours."

At that point, Mr. Singh could have left the country. Instead, he decided to stay on and fight the deportation order.

As a result, he remains in custody at the airport.

Mr. Singh has been arrested numerous times, and has a minor criminal record related to his protest activities. He initially faced 10 charges for his role in the violent protests at the Summit of the Americas - notably for using a catapult to fire teddy bears at riot police - but all but one charge was dropped. He is awaiting trial on a charge of participating in a riot.


Jaggi Singh refused entry into Israel

MONTREAL, December 14, 2002 -- Jaggi Singh, a Montreal-based writer and social justice activist, has been denied entry into Tel Aviv. He flew out of Montreal last night and arrived in Tel Aviv today at around 6:30 PM local time (11:30 AM EST). He was stopped at customs and questioned for several hours before being refused by Israeli officials. Jaggi is refusing to leave Tel Aviv voluntarily. He was able to contact the Canadian consulate, who then informed his contact-people in Montreal that Israeli authorities had refused him entry for "security reasons." Jaggi is now in detention, and lawyers in Tel Aviv have been contacted on his behalf.

Jaggi was travelling to the occupied territories to write about the realities of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Jaggi is well known in Canada and abroad for speaking out against injustice in the many forms it takes.

You can pressure the Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv (www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/telaviv) to intervene with Israeli authorities in order to have Jaggi released from detention and allowed Israel. The contact information for the embassy is:

Telephone : +011-972-3-636-3300 Fax : +011-972-3-636-3383 E-mail : taviv@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

Please cc your emails to andrea@tao.ca.

You can also put pressure on the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) to intervene on Jaggi's behalf. You can call DFAIT at 613-944-6788, or toll free (from within Canada only) at 1-800-267-6788. As of Monday morning, you can also ask to speak directly to Myra Pastyr-Lupul, the person in charge of case management at DFAIT. She can be reached at 613-944-9094.

We will continue to send updates about Jaggi's situation as we receive more information.

Andrea and Stefan

Andrea: 514-583-2209; andrea@tao.ca Stefan: 514-268-4069; christoff@tao.ca