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  • Greens: Send letter to drop charges against anti-war activist

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on October 11, 2007

    The Alison Bodine Defense Committee is appealing to all progressive individuals, groups and organizations who advocate for social justice to support the campaign to defend Alison Bodine, a US citizen who is being targeted by the government of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for being an anti-war and social justice activist.

    Originally from Broomfield, Colorado, Alison is the co-chair and spokesperson of Vancouver, Canada antiwar coalition Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO), for three years was the president of the University of British Columbia’s Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq and Internationally (CAWOPI), a long-time executive committee member of the UBC Social Justice Center, is a prominent activist in
    solidarity with Cuba and the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, and an active supporter of immigrant and refugee rights in Canada and the US.

    Near midnight on Thursday September 13, 2007, Alison was arrested by the CBSA when she attempted to legally cross the border at Peace Arch border crossing, traveling from Canada into the United States. Three days prior, Alison was harassed by CBSA officials while traveling from the US into Canada. The ordeal began after border officials searched her vehicle and identified her as a political organizer after they found various anti-war and political materials and progressive newspapers in her car. Currently she is being charged with “Misrepresentation”, however the basis for this allegation is vague and the CBSA’s argument will not be fully known until her hearing on Oct 11, 2007.

    To read more details on the background of the case, please visit:
    http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com.

    Alison’s unjust and illegal imprisonment was met with a strong protest and organizing drive by the rapidly-formed Alison Bodine Defence Committee. Friday afternoon, on only 5 hours notice, 80 people came together at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Offices in Vancouver, demanding the immediate release of Alison Bodine. Media was also quick to pick up this important case, which was covered locally and nationally by newspapers, TV and radio.

    After being told all day that there was no way she would be released from detention before Monday, Alison’s status took a sudden turn. At 7:00pm on Friday, Alison was given notice by immigration officials that she would be released from custody until her Admissibility Hearing on Monday Sept 17th.

    In the early afternoon of September 17th, Alison learned from a CBC reporter that the CBSA had cancelled her Admissibility Hearing scheduled for 2pm that day. Alison herself was never officially notified by CBSA. The CBSA postponement of Alison’s hearing was an obvious maneuver to delay given the huge media attention on the case and the weakness of their allegations against Alison.

    Alison’s Admissibility hearing was rescheduled for Sept 28th. The fight in the courtroom that day was brief, but it brought important advances for the Alison Bodine Defence Campaign. After a week of battling for access to more evidence, Alison’s lawyer Gabriel Chand, was finally granted the right to get access to any existing initial notes written by
    the border guards that questioned Alison. In addition, he was finally given the full disclosure. This was an important step forward, as the CBSA prosecuting lawyer tried to argue with Chand’s request, but ultimately failed to prevent the right to access this evidence. Due to the introduction of new evidence, the hearing was then adjourned until
    October 11, 2007 at 11am.

    Since the initial arrest there have been 7 defence rallies at the Vancouver immigration offices, 7 forums to discuss and strategize for the case and four press conferences. More than 1300 people have signed a petition demanding that the charges against Alison be dropped. Hundreds of support letters have poured in, including ones from MPs Libby Davies and Bill Siksay; MLA David Chudnovsky; the US-based Interreligious
    Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace; Federation of Post Secondary Educators, Richmond NDP; No One Is Illegal Toronto; Hospital Employees Union; Iglesia San Romero de Las Américas Church-UCC in New York City; Seattle Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER); Peggy Askin; President of the Calgary and District Labour Council; CODE PINK Women for Peace (Bowen Island Local Coordinator); President of the Ottawa Local Canadian Union of Postal Workers CUPW and many, many more.

    Being without status in Canada, Alison’s situation is always uncertain, and she can still be arrested at any time. All progressive, humanity loving people must unite around this case. We must understand that this is not just an attack on Alison, this is an attack on all of us. This is an attack on the basic democratic and human rights of all people, especially social justice activists, immigrants, refugees and all non-status people and non-residents in Canada. The illegal and unjust arrest and detention of Alison Bodine means the government of Canada and its agencies want to continue and escalate the silencing of free speech and political expression and continue their terrorizing of people who oppose their policies at home and abroad and the new era of war and occupation. They are also testing and evaluating our response to defend ourselves against their attacks against us. The degree, seriousness, effectiveness and consistency of our defence impact their decision on how to further their repressive measures.

    For this reason, we are appealing to you to join us in this struggle by endorsing this emergency campaign and by writing a letter of support demanding that the CBSA drop all charges against Alison. Please send this appeal to your email lists and friends. We must show the Government of Canada and their agency, the CBSA, that they cannot get away with trying to intimidate activists. We have attached a template support letter, as an example. Letters of support should be sent to:
    defendalisonbodine at hotmail.com

    The CBSA might think that by delaying the Admissibility hearing this campaign will lose steam and the pressure against them will lessen. On the contrary, this campaign is only just beginning. People all across Canada and the world know about this case of political harassment and this will only gain momentum from here. This is a political case; Alison
    has done nothing wrong or illegal. Alison, along with supporters in Vancouver and across the country will keep up the demand that the CBSA must drop all charges against her and restore her full rights to travel between the US and Canada.

    Our fight is not over. Your support is essential to get all charges against Alison dropped!

    WE WILL WIN!

    ———————–
    Alison Bodine Defense Committee (ABDC)

    *Contact by phone:
    Shannon Bundock 778.891.1470
    Tamara Hansen 778.882.5223
    Aaron Mercredi 604.339.7103
    Andrew Barry 604.780.4029

    *Blog, Daily Updates & Action Info: http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com
    *Email: defendalisonbodine at hotmail.com

    _____________________________________________________________

    SEND TO: defendalisonbodine at hotmail.com
    (Sample Support Letter)
    DATE
    To: Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
    Alison Bodine is a US citizen, is a central organizer with Vancouver
    antiwar coalition Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO), for
    three years was the president of the University of British Columbia’s
    Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq and Internationally (CAWOPI)
    and is a long-time executive committee member of the UBC Social Justice
    Center. She is also a prominent activist in solidarity with Cuba, and is
    a supporter of immigrant and refugee rights in Canada in the US.
    Near midnight, Thursday September 13, 2007 Alison Bodine was unjustly
    arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency and detained by the RCMP
    when she went voluntarily to the US-Canada border to pick up her
    belongings. Alison has not done anything illegal, and has crossed the
    border many times with no incident. It was not until her belonging were
    searched and antiwar literature found that the charges of were laid.
    Alison’s arrest and all charges against her are an attack on the
    democratic rights of individuals to organize and express their political
    views. This is an attack on the right to free speech, and an attack on
    immigrants, refugees, people without status and non-residents of Canada.
    Currently she is being charged with “Misrepresentation”, however the
    basis for this allegation is vague and the CBSA’s argument will not be
    fully known until her hearing on Oct 11, 2007.This is clearly a
    politically motivated case against Alison Bodine.
    I am demanding that the Canada Border Services Agency drop any and all
    charges against Alison Bodine, return to her any and all items seized by
    the CBSA, and reinstate her right to freely travel between the US and
    Canada.
    Sincerely,
    (signature)

    (name)
    (Affiliations)

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    One Response to “Greens: Send letter to drop charges against anti-war activist”

    1. […] by Green Party Peace Network on October 13th, 2007 Earlier this week we posted the appeal to Greens to submit letters of support for the Alison Bodine case., the anti-war activist who has been […]

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