Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mohawk Photographer Ben Powless: Inhumane Imprisonment at G20

Mohawk photographer Ben Powless, whose photos appear on Censored News, describes his imprisonment in Canada, as 900 people were jailed in inhumane conditions during the G20 in Toronto.
The Digital Journal reports:

Ben Powless, a First Nations environmental activist and student at Carleton University, talked about his experience when being arrested over the weekend where he said his treatment was horrid and the detention centre was less than adequate.
“I was one of the hundreds of people scooped up who were standing up for free speech and free assembly,” said Powless. “We suffered from one of the biggest mass arrests in history as we were arrested and witnessed police exercise media blackout so information couldn't get out as to what was happening to the arrestees.”
Powless continued that many people spent between 20 and 46 hours waiting to get out of prison, which were “completely unjust, completely arbitrary and punitive” against those who were presumed guilty instead of innocent.
The activist went onto state that when they were being arrested they were not being told why they were arrested or what they were being arrested for and were just grabbed by undercover police in unmarked cars.
“We were witness to one of the most disturbing detention systems, more of a resemblance to a prison camp, than I’ve ever heard of in Canadian society,” added Powelss. “They stole my bag, my wallet and my camera when I was in jail. When we were in jail, we were subject to 8X10 prison cells where many of 30-40 people were housed in cages. People had to go 12 hours without food and water and the only food we were provided with were food sandwiches, which many people were unable eat and going over 30 hours without any food at all.”
Many women, says Powless, were not given proper sanitary conditions, such as access to tampons and toilet paper. Powless added that police were making sexist disparaging remarks against women when they went to the washroom.
Similar to Canahan’s story, Powless states that people were forced to sleep on the concrete floor and were unable to sleep during their time in jail, “These conditions cannot be allowed to go under Canadian law and Canadian justice system and should be allowed to go free.”
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