There's never a free speech warrior around when you need one

| 10 Comments

A lot of you may know the background to this but I haven't written much about it yet so I'm going to review the details briefly for those who aren't familiar with the situation.

Last week I posted about Alex Hundert, an activist and community organizer who was arrested, along with others, in late June in advance of the G20 summit held in Toronto. Hundert was charged with conspiracy in relation to vandalism and assault that took place in the streets over that weekend and it ought to be an interesting case since, as I said, he was arrested before the crimes were committed. That would suggest the police knew in advance what was going to happen and yet by all the accounts I've read, when the violence actually broke out the cops stood around and watched as if they weren't sure what to do. They didn't really get excited until the next day when people started blowing bubbles and singing the national anthem. That got law enforcement motivated to start taking people into custody — hundreds of them. It's been described as the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.

When Hundert was subsequently released on bail, one of his bail conditions was that he refrain from participating in public demonstrations until his case came to trial. When he took part in a couple of panel discussions at Ryerson University, the Toronto police stretched the definition of "public demonstration" and took him back into custody. Shortly after that a Scarborough Justice of the Peace decided that the liberties taken with the English language by police were acceptable to him too, which is when I got involved (so to speak). Hundert remained in custody over the Thanksgiving weekend and was back in court yesterday.

And he'll remain in custody for the foreseeable future because the court decided to impose even stricter bail conditions and Hundert has refused to sign off on them.

According to a release by his allies, if he were to have accepted bail yesterday, Hundert would have been faced with "additional conditions of non association with Harsha Walia, Dan Kellar, AW@L, SOAR, NOII, no planning/participating/planning public meetings or marches, and no expressing political views including in the media, amongst others."

My emphasis. If you live in Ontario that should really scare the crap out of you. That's real censorship. That's the state, in this case the province of Ontario, forbidding someone from publicly expressing political opinion. It doesn't sound like it's any particular opinion that concerns them. It's obviously not hate speech that they're worried about because they wouldn't have to include that in bail conditions. This is the state telling a citizen who hasn't yet been found guilty of a crime that his views are already regarded as illegitimate before he's even expressed them.

After last week's events, I set up a Google News Alert on Hundert's name. Since the weekend the coverage in what I would consider to be the establishment media has been non-existent.

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10 Comments

Not enough bodies at the demo on Tuesday. There was media there.

Urk.
So, this wouldn't be a justice of the peace any more, would it? That's a real judge putting him in jail for refusing to waive his Charter rights. It is to retch.
Our rights are being taken away, bit by bit--I already knew that. But this is spooky. Just directly taking away his right to speak, and nobody in the media has anything to say about it, so nobody much knows or cares. Puts a cold wind at the back of my neck.

Not enough bodies at the demo on Tuesday.

Certainly I understand what you're saying. A bigger demonstration might get more attention in the media. But confining someone for what PLG accurately describes as "refusing to waive his Charter rights" merits attention from the media even without the requisite number of people with signs.

It doesn't matter where we live in Canada--this is precedent setting and can be applied anywhere in Canada. We have NO Charter rights except those which the State deem necessary. They control us body and soul. And to expect the msm to report on this is just ludicrous. They won't cut off their nose to spite their face. We know the msm is controlled by the controllers. No one said a word about the Security Act which was supposed to control terrorists--but as we have seen time and time again if the words are on paper they apply to all of us. Governments decide who are 'terrorists', define the word 'terrorism' and in their eyes, if we don't obey we are terrorists.

I think we are still in JP land, and of course the media SHOULD pay attention to this, but I was commenting from the point of view of what they WILL do.

While rabble and mediacoop reported two days ago that Alex is still in jail because he refused to sign off on the new bail conditions, The Star reports today : "On Wednesday Hundert agreed to the new, more stringent, bail conditions."

Whether he did or not is not the most important point here but it would be good if we could at least get some solid info about what's going on.
Anyone know?

There's a short Canadian Press report here that also suggests he has now accepted the new bail conditions so maybe he's out. But of course he can't tell the media that himself -- it would violate his bail conditions.

yeah, but you know - his lawyer could, couldn't he?

Courtesy of Dr. Dawg, this Infoshop News article provides more info. If true, this has gone beyond outrageous.

...Alex was told by the security manager at the Toronto East Detention Centre that he had to sign the bail conditions or face solitary confinement in “the hole”, without access to phone calls or writing paper. He was put in solitary confinement after an initial confrontation with correction staff where he resisted initial attempts to make him sign. He was denied the right to call his lawyer, and told that if he didn’t sign now, they would revoke the bail offer and he would be held in solitary confinement until his eventual release from prison.

I just came back to pass you that link from Toronto Media Co-op.

"He also has the additionally imposed restrictions of no direct or indirect posting to the internet, no assisting, planning, or attending any public meeting or march, and no expressing of views on a political issue."


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This page contains a single entry by pogge published on October 13, 2010 9:28 PM.

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