Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Archive for October 2018

ISIS fighter more important to Canada than Canadian cops in Cuba

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For seven months two Vancouver area police officers have been detained in Cuba facing an allegation of rape made by a fellow Canadian tourist. They were held in jail for seven days and once released were told they cannot leave the country as the investigation ran its course. 

During that period of time, no one from the Canadian Embassy in Havana bothered to go to see them. The only contact they had was with a consular official in Matanzas who sympathized with them and allowed them to make phone calls to family in Vancouver, but was not able to offer much more than that.

Last week we learned that Canadian officials from Global Affairs Canada were communicating with a former ISIS fighter dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media. He isn’t Canadian, he is British born but has a connection to Canada via one of his parents. 

Jihadi Jack’s real name is Jack Letts, a Muslim convert born in Oxford in 1995 to a Canadian organic farmer father, Jack and a British mother, Sally.  

In September 2014 Jihadi Jack travelled to Syria. In 2016, The Sunday Times reported that he told his parents that he had joined ISIS. He has since stated that he travelled to the Middle East “to search for the truth” and that he never really joined ISIS.  He does say he went to Syria “To spread the religion of Allah and to help Muslims.” He married a local girl after he adopted the name Abu Mohammed and they had a child. 

After the fall of ISIS Jihadi Jack was taken prisoner by the Kurdish forces who were at the forefront of the fight with ISIS. The UK said he forfeited his right to assistance because of his ties to ISIS. Because of his Canadian parentage, for whatever reason, the Canadian government has taken over the case. In fact, Global Affairs Canada has reached out to him proactively and saying in an email exchange, “If it would be possible, would you like to come to Canada?”

“I want to live a normal life. I want to come to Canada,” Jihadi Jack replied. This, despite the fact there is no evidence he has ever set foot in the country.

In the email exchange, the consular official explained that we don’t have consular operations in Syria but nevertheless they were working on it. 

Yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition raised the issue in the House of Commons in Ottawa with the Prime Minister. As with most things, the PM, Justin Trudeau gave a non-responsive answer to a simple question, saying his government “takes with the utmost seriousness the threats posed by traveling extremists.”

Well that was clear as mud. 

Meanwhile, back in Veradero, Cuba, two actual Canadians, serving police officers are being held in that country on a flimsy accusation that simply doesn’t stand up to the most cursory of examinations. The accuser’s story is nonsense and I suspect even the Cuban authorities have realized this and they have moved the goalposts in what they are saying the two officers did. Now, instead of dragging her over 500 metres from the pool bar to the resort, through the busy lobby, past a bar, coffee shop and up three flights of stairs, they are now saying they took advantage of a drunk female. They took a blood test from the accuser two days after the alleged event and somehow this is evidence of their accusation?

Well, this week the two officers finally heard from someone in Canadian consular operations. 

In that communication they acknowledge they are aware that a trial date has been set for October 25 which clearly tells us they have been in communication with the Cuban government. 

They also say there’s not much they can or will do other than monitor the situation. 

In the note, they say, “There are limitations to consular services. We are able to advocate for your fair and equal treatment under local laws. On your behalf we have asked the local authorities several times, through diplomatic channels to expedite the process, but they are under no legal obligation to do so.”

The note goes on. “Once a decision is rendered, depending on the result, you may be released and allowed to return to Canada or be incarcerated.” Well, thanks Captain Obvious.

After saying there is nothing they will do, they invited the two officers to a meeting which is to take place Thursday.  Evidently there will be officials in Ottawa and Miami dialled into the meeting where they will all say sorry, but you are at the mercy of the Cuban justice system. 

So, if I have this right, the Canadian government, which does not have consular operations in Syria, is doing whatever it can to get Jihadi Jack released from the custody of the Kurds. But in Cuba, where it does have consular operations, Global Affairs Canada is doing nothing to get two Canadian police officers released despite the nonsense allegations made against them. 

Canada is the largest supplier of tourists to the Cuban economy, more than 1.3 million a year. The next largest country is the US which provides a little more than 240,000 a year. I’d say that gives this country a little leverage with the Cuban government. 

Canada also gives Cuba a significant amount of foreign aid a year not to mention the too numerous to track federally-funded non-profits who work there helping their locals in all manner of ventures. 

It seems to me that some back-channel communications threatening their tourism and foreign aid would go a long way towards getting some justice for the two Canadian police officers unjustly accused by a sociopathic female. 

Meanwhile, the President of the US has, so far in less than two years, managed to get 17 American hostages released from places like North Korea and just last week, Turkey. If only Canada had a leader with the same testicular fortitude to take advantage of the leverage this country possesses. 

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Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

October 17, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Canadian cops trapped in Cuba facing kangaroo court

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Over the course of the past month, I have told you the story of the two Vancouver area police officers being held in Cuba on fabricated allegations of rape made by a fellow Canadian tourist.  

The accuser, a then 17-yr-old female approached the two in a poolside bar around 4:30 in the afternoon. She told them in no uncertain terms she wanted to have sex with one or both of them. They were in an adult bar in a resort mostly frequented by Canadians and she had been there being served by resort staff. They had no reason to believe she was underage and she certainly didn’t look it. 

While she was not encouraged to go back to their room, she wasn’t discouraged either. They left the bar and she followed and she was allowed into their room. One of the two, who was single, engaged in consensual sex with her while the other stayed out on their balcony. Before leaving, she tried to convince the other to play and she was rebuffed. Well, hell hath no fury as a wise man once said. 

She left and the two laid down for a pre-dinner nap. They were awakened a half-hour later by hotel security and their nightmare began. Seven months later it’s still going on. 

She claimed in her statement to police that she was dragged physically over 500 metres from the poolside bar to the resort, through a crowded lobby, past a bar, restaurant and up three flights of stairs to a room where she was raped by one of the cops while being held down. Somehow, no one in the busy resort noticed.

That was then. Despite the original statement given to the Cuban police, the prosecution is now trying to say that she was drunk and the two men took advantage of her by somehow directing her back to their room instead of dragging her as she originally claimed in her statement. Convenient isn’t it?

The reality is that the case, as a whole, is a moving target. Cuban justice, such as it is, bears no resemblance to anything we might recognize as justice. The two cops have no ability to face their accuser. In fact, they will not even be afforded the opportunity to challenge the claims made by way of cross-examination. 

The accuser won’t be attending any sort of trial. The only evidence against them is the original statement given by the accuser to the Cuban police officer investigating the claim. 

Under Cuban law, if an accuser cannot attend a trial, a statement is to be given in the presence of a prosecuting lawyer and a defence lawyer so that questions may be asked by both sides. 

That didn’t happen in this case. 

The two officers have been advised there will be a trial the last week in October in the town of Matanzas, where there is Canadian consular staff. But, no one is allowed to view the trial save and except two “guests” of the accused. 

The officers cannot even hire their own translator to ensure they are receiving accurate information of a trial being held in Spanish. The Cuban government will assign a translator, who is employed by the same government agency who employs the judges, the prosecutor and the defence counsel. That sure sounds fair.

The defence lawyers have been given a document called “conclusion provisionals” (sp?) which sounds to me like an indictment document which outlines what the prosecution says is the evidence against the two officers. 

If that is the case, the Cuban government is dropping any pretence of trying to prove the actual allegations made by the accuser about the dragging through the resort and the violent rape while being held down. It would seem they are now trying to claim the accuser was drunk and the two cops guided her back to the room where the “rape” occurred. 

Now, I should note that a blood sample was taken from the accuser to determine her BAC (blood alcohol content). The only problem is that the sample was taken two days after the alleged attack. A physical examination of the accuser showed no evidence of a sexual assault; no semen, no bruising, no vaginal tearing, nothing to indicate anything other than consensual sex had taken place. 

One wonders at what point in the proceedings a kangaroo will bound through the courtroom?

From my vantage point, although I know the Canadian government, while aware of the situation, hasn’t done anything to help these two Canadian police officers trapped in the jaws of the Cuban communist justice system. They say, officially, they are monitoring the situation, but monitoring is not going to help these two men. 

The western concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, the so-called ‘Golden Thread’ that runs through our justice system is not evident in Cuba. 

There will be five so-called judges on a panel hearing this case. Two of whom are lay persons. There is also designated a ‘president’ or head judge on the panel. All questions are routed through the president who does all the talking. 

This is a travesty. But it is not up to the Canadian government to question the Cuban system. It is up to the Canadian government to intervene and stand up for the rights of Canadians being unjustly prosecuted in a foreign land. This case would never get in front of a Canadian judge, it is so weak. Yet, in Cuba two police officers, who were just tourists from Vancouver, are staring at significant jail time on the basis of nothing but the uncorroborated, baseless allegations of what, in my opinion, is a sociopathic female.

Tourism is Cuba’s largest industry. Canada represents more than 30% of that industry with more than 1.3 million visitors every year and is by far and away the single largest contributor to that industry of any country in the world. 

Cuba would not want to jeopardize that cash cow.  The government of Canada needs to remind the Cuban government that unjust treatment of Canadian citizens is a problem. Made even more so when those citizens are police officers who serve the citizens of Canada. 

Perhaps a phone call from the Minister of Global Affairs to the Cuban Ambassador to Canada to remind him of that would be in order.

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Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

 

Written by Leo Knight

October 12, 2018 at 6:27 pm