The prosecutor handling the case of activist Jaggi Singh, who is being held in jail on charges of possession of a teddy-bear-firing catapult, has indicated new charges will be laid against him today.
Singh is the only one of more than 463 people arrested at demonstrations during the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City last month who was not released on bail.
Singh, who is already accused of breaching bail conditions imposed after he was charged with involvement in a demonstration in Westmount, is to appear in a Quebec City courtroom today, when the date of his preliminary hearing will be set.
Pascal Lescarbeau, a court-appointed lawyer helping Singh defend himself, said yesterday the Crown told him new charges, probably related to the conditions of Singh's release on charges arising from another demonstration in Montreal against a meeting of the G20 group of finance ministers, would be laid today.
'Teddy Bears are NOT Dangerous Weapons. Why is he still in jail?'
Victoria, British Columbia Teddy Bears Unite at Court House in Protest About Keeping Jaggi Singh in Quebec City Jail (B Brightwell via Indy Media Center)
Singh argued at his bail hearing that the Westmount conditions only prohibited him from participating in violent demonstrations in Westmount. He also said that he left an anti-summit demonstration that began peacefully when it turned violent.
Toronto activist and broadcaster Judy Rebick testified at Singh's bail hearing last week that Singh had nothing to do with a catapult designed to shoot teddy bears and confetti in a satirical protest against the 3.8-kilometre perimeter fence around summit venues.
She also said that Singh told demonstrators to withdraw when the protest turned violent but Quebec Court Judge Yvon Mercier misinterpreted Rebick's testimony in ordering him held in prison until his trail, saying erroneously that Rebick heard Singh tell the demonstrators to advance.
Singh was arrested away from the protest site by undercover police, who smashed him in the ribs with a billy club as they hustled him into an unmarked van.
Rebick is organizing a petition campaign and has support from former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent, Canadian Union of Public Employees president Judy D'Arcy, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Stephen Lewis and others calling for the release of Singh.
Yesterday Guy Dubord, spokesman for the group behind the satirical catapult, said that at least 30 teddy bears, "imprisoned in bird cages so they do not represent a public danger," have been turned in at police stations across Canada, along with signed confessions, taking credit for the catapult away from Singh.
And in Ottawa yesterday, House of Commons security staff expelled two activists who threw teddy bears on to the floor of Parliament.
Dubord said from Edmonton yesterday that his group is now calling on prison authorities to grant Singh conjugal visits. "That's a basic human right," said Dubord, who describes himself as an academic anarchist.
"Other people have claimed responsibility (for the catapult) and he is being denied conjugal visits," he added. "It's outrageous!"
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