Graham loses extradition appeal

After three years of battle, former Yukoner John Graham lost his fight against extradition to the US. Three judges dismissed his appeal in BC…

After three years of battle, former Yukoner John Graham lost his fight against extradition to the US.

Three judges dismissed his appeal in BC Supreme Court on Tuesday morning.

Graham is wanted in the US to stand trial for the murder of aboriginal activist Anna Mae Aquash in South Dakota.

Graham’s former partner Viola Papequash found out about the decision when her daughter phoned from the Vancouver courtroom on Tuesday morning.

“I couldn’t understand what she was saying; she was crying and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Papequash.

“Somebody else took the phone and told me that John was going to be extradited and I was pretty shocked.”

In the next few days Papequash plans to meet with her family and discuss their next steps.

“We’ll start to put our efforts towards raising funds so John can get a lawyer in South Dakota,” she said.

Aquash was shot in the back of the head in late 1975 on orders from the American Indian Movement, which believed she was an informant for the FBI, according to the court of appeal judgment.

Both Graham and Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud were indicted for first-degree murder.

Looking Cloud was convicted in 2004.

Ironically, the shootout at Pine Ridge also happened on June 26 in 1975, said Papequash.

The deaths of two FBI agents and one young aboriginal man on that day is what led to the Aquash shooting.

Graham’s lawyers have 30 days to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court of Canada. During that time Graham will remain in jail.

The impending extradition to South Dakota could take place following the 30-day period.