"Sometimes you put up walls not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down." - Anonymous
JUNE 2011 UPDATE: Jaggi Singh received a suspended sentence and one year probation for publicly urging people to tear down the G20 Toronto security fence at a press conference. His other charges have been withdrawn. Previous updates are included below, including full details of the plea agreement.
G20 activist Jaggi Singh unrepentant after suspended sentence (Toronto Star):
Jaggi Singh set free: "My only regret is that we didn’t succeed in tearing down that fence.” (NOW Magazine):
Activist Jaggi Singh Given Suspended Sentence for G20 Speech (Toronto Media Co-op):
This coming June 21 (2011), Jaggi Singh will receive his sentence for urging people to tear down the G20 security fence in Toronto (Jaggi’s public remarks can be viewed online in two segments: i) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ymRoN54CCc; ii) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9NnAorPigc (begin at :030)).
At a full-day sentencing hearing in late April, the Crown asked the judge to impose a six-month prison sentence, admitting that there was no sentence harsh enough to make Jaggi change his political beliefs, but instead the court needed to send a message to other activists. Jaggi’s lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, asked for a symbolic $10 fine.
For background to the court hearing, consult the following media articles:
Crown demands harsh sentence for G20 activist (NOW Toronto):
The Jaggi Singh trial from inside the courtroom (rabble.ca):
Crown seeks six months for G20 protester (Toronto Star):
AUDIO: On taking down fences and the criminalization of dissent: An interview with Jaggi Singh (rabble.ca):
If Jaggi receives jail time, he will be taken into custody immediately on June 21.
Jaggi, a member of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) and No One Is Illegal-Montreal, has technically pled guilty to “counselling to commit mischief over $5000”. His specific crime occurred during a short speech and subsequent replies to media questions during a No One Is Illegal press conference at the $5.5 million G20 security fence on June 24, 2010, just a few days before the G20 conference officially began in downtown Toronto.
Jaggi’s remarks can be viewed online in two segments:
ii) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9NnAorPigc (begin at :030).
A transcript of the speech is available HERE.
In return for Jaggi’s plea, the Crown is withdrawing all criminal conspiracy charges, charges still being faced by 17 other former co-accused who will begin their preliminary inquiry in September.
As part of the plea agreement between the Crown and Jaggi: i) the Crown will not call Jaggi as a witness in any G20-related case; ii) Jaggi’s plea cannot be used by the Crown in any other G20 prosecutions; iii) Jaggi will offer no cooperation to the Crown or the police; iv) Jaggi will offer no apologies for his actions and words; v) the entirety of the agreement will be public and not subject to any publication ban (plea agreement and related exhibits are linked below).
- Exhibit A: Agreed Statement of Facts
- Exhibit B: Jaggi Singh twitter feed (June 3-July 6, 2010)
(Why the twitter feed?: The twitter feed was public and intended for a general audience. The Crown is using Jaggi’s twitter feed (June 3 to July 6, 2010) to highlight that he posted information like: 1) CLAC’s Anti-Capitalist Reader produced before the G20 called “Warning Shot!”; 2) No One Is Illegal statements produced before and after the G20; 3) a video posted by Jaggi (but not produced or made by him) called “Mon voyage à Toronto”, which includes the Dead Prez song “Fuck the Law.” You can access the relevant excerpts of the twitter feed directly at http://www.twitter.com/JaggiMontreal)
- Exhibit C: Jaggi Singh Speech and Q&A at the G20 Security Fence (June 24, 2010)
The speech can be viewed at the following links: i) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ymRoN54CCc;
ii) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9NnAorPigc (begin at :030). A transcript of the speech is available HERE.
SUPPORT STATEMENTS & LETTERS
The Crown has asked for a six-month prison sentence to send a message of deterrence to other activists. Nonetheless, the following groups have issued public support letters in support of Jaggi, INCLUDING his words and actions at the G20 security fence last June 2010:
* No One Is Illegal (Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto & Vancouver): On the Justice of Tearing Down Fences and Dismantling Borders
[Endorsed by the Purple Thistle Arts and Action Centre (Vancouver)]
* Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC): In Montreal, In Toronto and Everywhere, the Walls Must Fall!
* Solidarity Across Borders: Statement of Support with Jaggi
* QPIRG Concordia: A Public Statement in Support of Jaggi Singh
* Community Solidarity Network (CSN) Toronto: Statement in Support of G20 Defendant Jaggi Singh
* Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP): Support Jaggi Singh and Resistance to Capitalist Austerity
* Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW): Canadian Union of Postal Workers Support Jaggi Singh and An End to Corporate Theft and Police Tyranny
* People's Commission Network: Coupables de lutter contre des murs illégitimes: Déclaration de solidarité avec Jaggi Singh et les autres victimes des mesures ultra-sécuritaires
[Endorsed by l'Association étudiante du Collège François-Xavier-Garneau, Québec City (AGECFXG)]
* Graduate Students' Association (Concordia University): Letter in support of Jaggi Singh
* Concordia Student Union (CSU): Letter of Support for Jaggi Singh
* Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie (PASC): Jaggi Singh menacé de 6 mois de prison pour avoir encouragé la chute de la clôture du G20 à Toronto
* Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ): Lettre d'appui à Jaggi Singh
* South Asian Women's Community Center (SAWCC): Solidarity With Jaggi Singh
* Women of Diverse Origins / Femmes de Diverses Origines: Letter of Solidarity for Jaggi Singh
* La Pointe Libertaire: Déclaration de soutien avec Jaggi Singh
* Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly: Support for Jaggi Singh
* Toronto Anarchist Black Cross (ABC): Statement of Solidarity
* QPIRG McGill: A Public Statement in Support of Jaggi Singh
* Groupe de Recherche en Intérêt Public de l'Université du Québec à Montréal (GRIP-UQÀM): Déclaration publique en soutien à Jaggi Singh
* Exile Infoshop (Ottawa): Letter of Support with Jaggi
* koumbit.org (Montréal): In Support Jaggi Singh and all Toronto G20 Protestors Still Facing Accusations
* Artivistic (Montreal): Statement of Support for Jaggi Singh
* Climate Justice Montreal: Letter of Support for Jaggi Singh
* CampusCrops/Midnight Kitchen: Letter of Support for Jaggi Singh
* Radical Reference Montreal: Public Statement of Support
ALSO: Heartfelt support from CLAC co-defendant: http://www.clac-montreal.net/en/jaggi#comment-18
276 letters were ALSO submitted to the judge during his April 2011 sentencing hearing in support of Jaggi. Many letter-writers indicated their full support for Jaggi’s words at the fence, and expressed agreement that the G20 security fence should have been removed. All letter-writers have urged the judge to impose a minimal sentence.
Among the groups who submitted support letters for Jaggi (as organizations, or as individuals on behalf of the organization): Anarchist Bookfair Collective (Montreal), l’Association pour la Défense des Droits et l’Inclusion des personnes qui Consomment des drogues du Québec (ADDICQ), Beehive Design Collective, Center for Community Organizations (CoCo), le Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs, CKUT Board of Directors, Committee to Aid Refugees (CAR), Le comité exécutif de L’R, Coopérative Nos Rêves (Parc Extension), Dignidad Migrante, le Bibliothèque Anarchiste DIRA, Le Frigo Vert Collective, le Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), le Front commun des personnes assistées sociales du Québec, Head & Hands (NDG), Immigrant Workers Center, Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS), JOC-Montréal, Montréal-Nord Républik, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (Oakland, CA), OPIRG Toronto, People’s Potato Collective, Prisoner Correspondence Project, Re-Con, le Regroupement intersectoriel des organismes communautaires de Montréal, Stella, le Table des regroupements provinciaux d’organismes communautaires et bénévoles, Toronto People’s Assembly on Climate Justice
As well, many more individuals (and other groups) from Montreal, Toronto, as well as all over Quebec, Canada, the USA and overseas have submitted letters of support.
After his plea on April 28, 2011, Jaggi Singh issued the following short statement:
“By pleading guilty to counseling to commit mischief, I can openly state that the fence deserved to come down, and that the G20 deserved to be confronted. I'll pay a price for having said so openly, but I am ready to assume that responsibility.
I assume that responsibility knowing that I have amazing and deep support from an engaged community of social justice organizers and activists in Quebec, Canada and beyond. I would like to express my profound thanks to everyone who’s offered me support in the past few months, in so many touching and diverse ways.
Importantly, I would like to particularly express a public note of solidarity and support for all remaining G20 defendants who continue to fight their criminal charges. They are all deserving of everyone’s interest and active support, and I encourage all concerned about police and state repression to provide it, tangibly.
By pleading guilty now, I am ending this legal matter, relatively speaking, on my own terms and timetable, and I’m looking forward to returning to the streets and protests of Montreal shortly.”
SUPPORT G20 DEFENDANTS:
- “Support G20 Defendants” Flyer: http://guelphprisonersolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/new-g20-support...
- Free Byron Sonne: http://freebyron.org/index.php/Main_Page
- Community Solidarity Network Updates: http://g20.torontomobilize.org/
- The G20 Legal Fund (Québec): http://www.clac2010.net/en/node/193
"The G20 Legal Fund considers that all arrests occurred in the context of a legitimate struggle against the capitalist policies of the G20, and that all charges should be dropped immediately."
- Guelph ABC G20 Support Fund: http://guelphprisonersolidarity.wordpress.com/g20-support/
"An accessible alternate fund for G20 arrestees, mostly those facing serious charges. The fund is for immediate short-term needs of the defendants."
- The G20 Legal Defence Fund (Toronto): http://g20legaldefencefund.wordpress.com/
"A fund that exists to hold and give out funds raised to support legal costs, fees, and other associated costs of legal defense for people facing charges stemming from the June 2010 Toronto G20 Summit."
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