G20 Defendant Alex Hundert Released from Prison

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Toronto G20 Defense
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G20 Defendant Alex Hundert Released from Prison, Actions of Crown Widely Condemned

January 28, 2010, Toronto – After having spent three consecutive months in jail without trial, G20 defendant Alex Hundert was released from the
Toronto West Detention Centre on January 24th.

His release came after he signed a plea bargain with the Crown that he was
guilty of being in breach of his “no protest condition” for being present
during one portion of the panel at Ryerson University. The plea found him
not guilty of breach for speaking on a panel at Laurier University, nor
did the plea establish that speaking on a panel was equivalent to a public
demonstration.

On being released from jail, Hundert said, “I made this plea because I
realised that I was doing no good to anyone as I sat in jail. There will
be no justice in the courts because they exist to protect an unjust and
hierarchical order. So I took a deal that would allow me to get back into
my community where I can continue to commit myself to issues of social and
environmental justice.” Read Hundert’s statement in full here:
http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/blog/alex-hundert/5868

Initially arrested in a violent pre-emptive house raid in June on
“conspiracy” charges, Hundert was re-arrested after being accused of
breaching his ‘no public demonstration’ bail condition for speaking at
panel discussions at Wilfrid Laurier and Ryerson University in September
2010. Plainclothes officers were present at both of these events.

Commented Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel at the Canadian Civil
Liberties Association on the entire operation, “It seems preposterous to
think that public resources, policing and even corrections resources have
been spent to prevent someone from attending and speaking at a University
seminar. The process was unfair and the charges were exaggerated: it ought
not to have happened.”

Numerous academic bodies, unions, and civil society organizations have
publicly expressed their support of Alex and have condemned the crackdown
on dissent. The Canadian Association of University Teachers, Ontario
Confederation of University Faculty Associations, Canadian Union of Postal
Workers, BC Civil Liberties Association, and Canadian Union of Public
Employees Ontario, have all issued statements to the Attorney General to
this effect.

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations wrote in a
public letter, “This criminalization of legitimate dissent represents an
assault on both Mr. Hundert’s freedom of expression and the freedom of our
universities to foster debate and discussion on issues of public
importance. Academic freedom – the ability to engage in controversial or
challenging dialogue without fear of reprisal – is a cherished value of
Ontario’s universities. Such freedom cannot exist when subjected to state
surveillance or arbitrary exercise of state power.”

In a statement issued on behalf of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
(CUPW), David Bleakney, National Union Representative for CUPW, stated,
“This travesty is about much more than just Alex however. It is about a
legal and political order that promotes the erosion of rights, freedoms,
and justice.” The bail condition forbidding participation in public
demonstrations has itself come under scrutiny, and is the subject of a
constitutional challenge put forward by G20 defendant Jaggi Singh.

Out of the over 1000 people who were arrested during the G20 in Toronto,
only a handful of charges remain. Many of those arrested were never
charged, and the months since have seen hundreds of those who were have
their charges dropped. The abuses perpetrated by the police during and
outside of the G20 summit have been gaining wide attention and
condemnation in the public eye.

Adds Yogi Acharya, member of No One Is Illegal Toronto, “This on-going
debacle of political targeting of activists gets more transparent to the
general public every day. The Police and the Office of the Attorney
General ought to be held accountable for their actions; not just during
the G20, but for the daily violence they inflict on marginalized
communities.”

–          30 –
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