Ontario's political prisoner: Albert Douglas
Sunday, January 13, 200818 Comments
Can Canada assign citizenship to those who don't want it?
What happens when this agreement is disrespected? This is exactly the situation playing out through the trial of Albert Douglas.
Douglas was arrested on September 27, 2007, in a routine traffic stop on the 401, under a Canada wide warrant. He was wanted for assault, attempted murder, robbery, and unlawful confinement among other charges.
These stem from a few separate incidents. In 2006 Douglas was involved in the 6 Nations land reclamation of the Douglas Creek Estates property on the Haldimand Track near Caledonia. The original name for the area that was sized is Konastaton. When the OPP raided the reclamation site on April 20th Albert was one of 16 people arrested.
Then on June 9th 2006 Douglas was accused of confronting an undercover U.S. Border Patrol car that was driving past the reclamation site while taking pictures of protestors. He was accused of forcing the driver out of the car then driving it a short distance away. A passenger supposedly jumped from the moving vehicle and was hurt.
Douglas has been receiving strong support from his community. Many, including Douglas himself, see his actions as a means to defend his land and people. During his appearances, the court is always full of supporters.
According to TEKAWENNAKE, a 6 Nations & Port Credit newspaper published November 28th, in court Douglas; ''maintains that he and the Kanienkekhake Signatory tribe he has been adopted into are Signatory Indians and therefore the laws of Canada do not apply since they are their own nations, falling under international law and tribal law.''
Douglas is a part of a nation that never surrendered or succeeded to Canada, meaning he is not now, and never was a Canadian citizen. This makes him a prisoner of war. He regards his imprisonment as an act of treason and kidnapping by the courts and the OPP.
''No one should be in the Canadian justice system for standing up for soverign Mohawk territory.'' Douglas says from the Hamilton Wentworth detention center where he is being held.
He has been incarcerated for over 105 days, and his tactic so far had been non-participation. Douglas has refused the assistance of duty council and will not appoint a lawyer. He has been representing himself with the guidance of Lester Howse, Douglas's legal adviser who was refused standing in the Cayuga court. He has been recognized by courts in Brantford previously, but has been rejected in Cayuga. Howse was involved in AIM, the American Indian Movement of the 60's and 70's and is known to be an expert in international law. Together Douglas and Howse have formed a defense which challenges the authority of the Provincial Court over signatory Indians as defined by international law. So far, the court has ignored this defense.
It has taken nearly 3 months for Douglas to receive disclosure. Now that it has been released it is very inaccessible for Douglas because it is all electronic. This poses two problems; he cannot have the computer in his cell and he is not computer literate. It could take months to sort through all the video footage before he can begin to build a case for himself.
Should Douglas continue to not participate, Ontario Court of Justice Judge Ann Watson explained, he will be tried by the Superior court. He can choose to have a trial with a judge and jury or only a judge, as well as whether or not he wants a preliminary hearing. The judge stated that if he will not choose, the court will choose for him.
His next court appearance is Wednesday January 16th @ 10AM.