Ottawa is washing its hands of John Graham, a Yukon man extradited to the United States on murder charges that have since been dropped.
Graham, who is a member of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation, was extradited in December 2007 to face federal charges he killed Annie May Aquash, a copatriot in the American Indian Movement, in 1975.
Two weeks ago, a judge in a Rapid Falls, South Dakota, court ordered the charges dropped because federal prosecutors could not determine that Graham is a member of a recognized American tribe and establish
jurisdiction over the Canadian citizen.
While the reason for Graham’s extradition hinged on the federal charges, the federal Department of Justice is not revisiting the decision to extradite him, said Carole Saindon, a spokesperson for the department.
Graham is still facing murder charges from the state of South Dakota, which, despite not warranting extradition, mean that Graham shouldn’t be brought back to Canada.
“Extradition is completed once a person has been surrendered to the requesting state,” wrote Saindon in an e-mail. “In this instance, Mr. Graham has been surrendered to the United States and therefore the extradition
“While the US federal indictment against Mr. Graham was recently dismissed by the U.S. District Court in South Dakota, Mr. Graham is still facing charges under South Dakota state law in relation to the same
conduct,” wrote Saindon.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, which is also involved in extradition hearings, declined to comment.
“Please note that we do not comment on legal matters,” wrote Alain Cacchione, a spokesperson for the department.
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