Jaggi Singh Argues Quebec City Courts Won’t Give Him a Fair Trial
Montreal Activist Says City Doesn’t Take Racism Seriously
Following his appearance in Quebec City municipal court Wednesday morning, activist Jaggi Singh is asking that his future court dates be moved to another location because he fears Quebec City courts won’t give him a fair trial.
The week prior, he made an appearance in the same court for a charge of impersonation and obstruction of justice, to which he pleaded not guilty.
The charges are related to his participation in the Quebec City protests on Aug. 20, where he was detained by police after helping to mobilize a contingent of Montreal activists to protest against the far-right group La Meute, who on that day were there to protest against the influx of immigration in Quebec.
Some of the counter-protesters marching against the anti-Islam group La Meute used a number of violent tactics, and also vandalised the city. A number of those acts were committed by masked individuals who allegedly came from Montreal.
While being detained, Singh jokingly identified himself as Michel Goulet, a retired left-wing from the former Quebec Nordiques hockey team. Keeping that in mind, Quebec city police later put out a warrant for his arrest.
Wednesday morning, Singh explained in court that he doesn’t trust the city’s ability to give him a fair trial because, as he argues, the city does not take racism seriously enough.
“Quebec City is a place where they don’t take racism seriously,” Singh told The Link over the phone Thursday evening, while citing that mayor Régis Labeaume still refuses to open a hate crimes unit within the city’s police force to deal with the rise of hate crimes against Muslims. “There’s a way in which far-right and racist groups operate without impunity in Quebec City.”
“There’s a way in which far-right and racist groups operate without impunity in Quebec City.” — Jaggi Singh
Even more, Singh is concerned about the verbal attacks he publically received from Labeaume, who on the day after protests took to TVA to call the Montreal contingent of anti-racist protesters a “gang” and group of “morons.” He says that since it’s a relatively small town, the mayor’s comments are likely to sway the decisions of the judge.
“I was feeling in a city like Quebec City, which is smaller than Montreal, the mayor has an influence on these things, and I made (my concerns) really clear,” said Singh. “I can’t say he had a direct role, but he definitely had an indirect role.”
“When I was arrested in Quebec City on Aug. 20, initially I was let go after 45 minutes and the cops said they would sent something in the mail,” Singh said. “They said it wasn’t going to be a criminal charge and it wasn’t going to be a ticket. Suddenly, with all the media attention and particularly the mayor’s comments, all this happened.”
In court that morning, Singh also asked that an audit be made by a third party to see if there’s any possible links, past or present, between local far-right groups and Quebec City’s police and municipal employees.
He also asked for a detailed disclosure report from the Quebec City police showing all the footage they shot that day, and the police’s various correspondences with La Meute and the mayor.
His next court date is on Nov. 30, where he’s set to appear in Quebec City’s municipal court in Ste. Foy. There, he’ll further discuss the merits of what he’s asking for.
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