KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Over the last several weeks since the standoff ended, the RCMP continue to try and break the enduring position of the Ts'peten Defenders. When Suniva Bronson went to retrieve her driver's license from Police Headquarters in Kamloops earlier this month (October 5), she and her mother were taken into a closed office and interrogated without the presence of a lawyer. Corporal Murray Smith tried to discuss the standoff with them, naming people he assumed to be involved in certain incidents. Suniva refused to comment and eventually Smith forced them both to watch a video that the police had recorded of the infamous red truck being blown up by the land mine.
Afterwards, he claimed that the only thing not recorded on video was Suniva being shot. He told her it was an RCMP .223 bullet taken out of her arm, but assured her that it would be impossible to find out who fired the shot because there were more than 60 officers in the field that day. He also threatened that there would be more charges laid of greater consequences, including the possibility of life sentences. Following this confrontation, other Defenders have been harassed by police with questions and similar threats at their homes, always without the presence of their lawyer. One couple was even stopped in their truck on a public street and interrogated right there. Two plain clothes officers were also spotted bugging a car owned by a Defender's family.
The most recent coercive measure was the solitary confinement of Joseph Adam Ignace ("JoJo"), on October 20, 1995 shortly after the denial of his release on bail. There had been numerous indications of his emotional deterioration since being imprisoned on September 17, 1995. Although the supervisor at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre (KRCC) recognized that the confinement was the reason for Joseph's emotional instability, he was moved into 23-hour lockdown cell adjacent to Defender James Pitawanakwat (O.J.) who was in a 20-hour lockdown for no other apparent reason than prison overflow. Lawyer Robin Smith from Williams Lake suspects that Joseph and James are placed together in the hope that they would exchange information which could be recorded and used against them in court. (Indeed, Joseph has apparently already made incriminating statements against himself after hours of police interrogations without the presence of a lawyer.) James reported that, as the days passed, Joseph was becoming increasingly stressed until, on October 22nd, Joseph endangered his life for fear of his father William's health. William ("Wolverine") asked the supervisor if he would be allowed to see Joseph as this would reassure him and calm him down, but he was refused this simple request on grounds unknown.
Joseph is now under 24-hour observation along with 21 other inmates. He has only recently been informed of his canteen privileges. Additionally, since he can't write and no one offered him any assistance, he has not been able to fill out request forms or visitors lists. His mother sent in a visitors list for him over a week ago, but it still isn't in the KRCC computer.The extraordinary and deplorable methods used by the RCMP and their political yellow bellies are nothing but tactics of intimidation, humiliation and genocide that seem to be an integral part of the ongoing criminal investigation of the Ts'peten Defenders.
Please make calls of complaints to the Warden of the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, John Spruce at (604) 372 - 7202; fax (604) 374 - 9247 and to the Ombudsman of B.C. at (604) 387 - 5855. Also, any letters of support to the Defenders still being held as political prisoners of war are much appreciated and enjoyed.
Also, please be informed that David Pena, who was arrested on August 11, 1995 on weapons charges, will be on trial in the Williams Lake courthouse on November 6, 1995. David was the first political prisoner, still in maximum security in Prince George. His own mother is not allowed to visit him, since she is one of the people charged at Gustafsen Lake. The prison food is not sufficient for his special diabetic needs and his health is deteriorating.
"O.J." will have his bail hearing on November 10, 1995 in 100 Mile House. That is also the court date for the Defenders, at which time further charges may be laid and the prosecution will determine who will be tried together and on what dates. There may also be pleas entered into court that day and consideration of a preliminary trial. Again, please show your support any way you can.