WRITTEN QUESTION by Giusto Catania (GUE/NGL) to the European Council
Subject: The Marc Emery case
16 October 2005
Marc Emery, a Canadian citizen, is a cannabis seed producer and political activist. On 29 July 2005, he was arrested in Vancouver along with two of his associates. The Canadian police made the arrest on the instructions of the US authorities, who would like to try Emery in the United States for having sold cannabis seeds to US citizens over the Internet. Alongside the accusations of dealing cannabis seeds over the Internet the United States also suspects him of money laundering, which is an accusation prejudicial to the public standing of Marc Emery, who is an established figure on the Canadian political scene.
Emery is now in danger of extradition to the United States, where he risks a 10 year prison sentence and even life imprisonment. In Canada, which is the country where the arrest was made and which therefore has jurisdiction over this matter, crimes of this type are subject to milder penalties and are even tolerated. European public opinion has already taken action in support of Marc Emery’s release and expressed its solidarity in the form of various demonstrations.
Bearing in mind that the various European legal systems advocate a more moderate approach than the United States of America to the sale and use of soft drugs, which in some cases have been decriminalised and tolerated, does the Council not consider that US infringement of Canadian jurisdiction could set a dangerous precedent for similar cases that occur in the future, to the prejudice of European citizens?
Moreover, considering the prime importance of transatlantic relations to the EU in geopolitical and trade terms, and since those relations should be based on a set of fundamental values, including human rights and freedom of political expression, does the Council not view with concern the fact that Europe’s partner, the United States, can act in complete contradiction of such values?
Will the Council endeavour to send a clear political signal to stop the extradition of Marc Emery to the United States?