Jaggi Singh Out on Bail

November 27, 2006

Montreal QC — A hearing was held at Montreal’s municipal court today in the case of Jaggi Singh’s arrest on Friday, November 24. Singh was arrested by an RCMP officer at Montreal General Hospital, where an announcement and press conference by Canadian PM Stephen Harper was to be held.

The arrest was the result of no act of provocation by the well-known Montreal activist. At the press conference, the RCMP advised security of Jaggi Singh’s presence, and security, in turn, asked that Singh leave the premises. The activist refused, stating that he had a right to be at the meeting. The RCMP intervened and arrested Singh.

At today’s bail hearing, Crown Prosecutor Francis Paradis argued for the preventative detention of Singh until his trial date, meaning that Singh could have been held in confinement for another six months. The argument was that Singh would be a threat to public safety, a claim which was unequivocally denied by the defense’s witnesses. The Crown had no witnesses and only referring to the RCMP report filed upon the arrest.

The judge disagreed with the Crown and released Singh on a $2000 bail, money which was collected by his supporters who numbered close to one hundred at the hearing. In fact, there were so many supporters present, that the hearing had to be moved to a new room to accommodate the audience.

In addition to bail, a condition was also attached to the release; Singh is not allowed to partake in any demonstration which is illegal or non-peaceful.

“I think it was abusive that a condition was imposed upon Jaggi,” said Louise-Caroline Bergeron of Montreal group Block the Empire. “While you’re in a demonstration and you don’t have birds-eye view, you can’t know what’s going on five hundred people behind you.”

Tonight, Jaggi Singh will be freed from the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre, where he has been held since Friday’s arrest. Due to the overcrowding of the facility, he has had to spend the weekend sleeping on benches. Access to a shower was first provided only on Sunday.

Below is the full statement by Louise-Caroline Bergeron of Block the Empire. Jared Will, Mr Singh’s legal adviser, had no comments. Crown Prosecutor Francis Paradis was not available after the hearing.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/3274573/view]

To learn more about the event where Jaggi Singh was arrested, please refer to “Harper Announces Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Speaks of Quebec “Nation”.

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