Pot refugee’s extradition hearing

Renee Boje, arrested by the DEA in connection with a raid on Todd McCormick’s famous Californian “medicinal-marijuana mansion” (see CC#19, Fighting for life in California), was in BC Provincial Court on November 1, 2 and 3. The proceedings were set to continue on December 15.
In Judge Catliff’s November 3 rulings, he refused to hear evidence that might keep Boje in Canada. He declined to consider the issue of Todd McCormick’s medical use, declined to reflect on the political nature of Boje’s charges or the statewide initiative that made medicinal marijuana legal in Califonia. He rejected evidence that suggests the police faked a confession they claim to have received from Boje after her arrest. The judge also spurned the suggestion that Boje’s extradition hearing should proceed after McCormick’s trial.

If Renee Boje is extradited she faces 10 years to life in US prisons, which have been condemned by Amnesty International for widespread rape and abuse of female prisoners.

Boje is the first American to seek refugee status in Canada from the US drug war. Her bid for freedom has received coverage from ABC News, MS NBC News, the Christian Science Monitor, the Globe and Mail, Canada AM, CTV, Glamour Magazine, and many other local and international news outlets.

But technicalities in UN convention refugee law have derailed Boje’s attempts to apply for refugee status and her refugee hearing has been cancelled.

According to the courts, Boje cannot apply for refugee status because the legal penalties for her charges are no greater in the US than in Canada. The courts have closed their eyes to the differences between prison conditions in the two countries and to differences in actual sentences; despite the written law, Canadians receive much lighter sentences for marijuana charges.

Should Judge Catliff decide to extradite Boje on December 15, then the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, still must review and make a decision to sign the papers on January 15, 2000. Boje’s extradition is also subject to appeal ? first in the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and then at the Supreme Court of Canada.

You can help Renee Boje tackle mounting legal expenses by buying one of her “Cannabis Certificates.” They can be acquired for a $25 donation to her legal defence fund, and each is redeemable for a quarter ounce of marijuana when cannabis is legal in Canada.

You might also help by sending a letter to Anne McLellan, the Minister of Justice, asking her to let Renee stay in Canada. Boje’s lawyer, John Conroy, asks that letters be sent to him, to be forwarded to the minister.

? John Conroy: 2459 Pauline St, Abbotsford, BC, Canada, V2S 3S1
? To buy a cannabis certificate, send $25 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Renee Boje, Box 1557, Gibsons BC, Canada, V0N 1V0; email [email protected]; web www.thecompassionclub.org/renee