Political Prisoners in the North American Homeland
by J. B. Gerald
February 7, 2012
The legal systems of Canada and the U.S. make no separate recognition of “political prisoners.” This encourages police malfeasance and a bending of the legal system to cope with political protest in the same manner as crimes of self-interest. Confused by the difference, society prefers to sort its members into “good” and “bad”. As totalitarian controls by government increase, more people will probably assert their humanity and the numbers of political prisoners will grow, but in the process criminalize entire groups of people who have strong convictions, integrity, loyalty to community, and care deeply about what happens to their country, society, humanity.
In Canada the concept of what is a political prisoner, varies by community. Native people have been political prisoners for generations, as have the poor, confined by prison or circumstance. Due to the Canadian government’s Middle East policies which involve strong interface with Israel, media focus on political prisoners for the past ten years concerns Muslims as suspects in the ‘war on terrorism.’ The high profile political prisoners were arrested on Canadian Security Certificates which according to Canada’s Supreme Court , ignored the victims’ human rights and needed adjustment. The Conservative government’s compliance was minimal and inadequate. Held on a Security Certificate for 12 years in detention and house arrest, without charge or knowing his accusers, Mohammad Mahjoub was released from several limitations of his freedom, February 3rd, by Federal Court in Toronto which found the intrusive surveillance unreasonable. Mahjoub had previously chosen to return to prison rather than inflict the government’s surveillance on his family.
With current trials of G20 protestors and an “Occupy” movement which may last, Canada begins to field the edge of its conscience. June 2010 in Toronto, thousands of Canadians protested the G20 conference of global leaders and were met with illegal police tactics, massive pre-planned detention, threats, and abuse of the peoples’ human rights. With occasional possibly ‘staged’ exceptions, the protests were non-violent. According to The Dominion, of the more than eleven hundred arrested, 66 remain in legal battles while some still face charges. Seven are serving sentences for their participation: Ryan Rainville, Mandy Hiscocks, Alex Hundert, Leah Henderson, Peter Hopperton, Erik Lankin (released Jan. 26th), Adam Lewis, and Greg Noltie-Rowley.
Mandy Hiscocks, convicted of “Counseling to Commit Mischief and Counseling to Obstruct Police,” faced the judge before her sentencing and objected to his comparison of G20 protest tactics to the illegal and racist tactics of the Ku Klux Klan. She noted there’s no comparison between G20 protest tactics and the K.K.K.’s, and that it was tactics the judge objected to rather than the Klan’s insistence on White Supremacy. She is a credit to Canadians and was sentenced to from 20 months to 2 years.