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Valerie Simard November 2, 2012
After meeting with his lawyer this morning, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois declared in a press conference that the decision delivered by judge Denis Jacques by the Superior Court of Quebec was mistaken on several points. The former spokesperson of CLASSE points out, particularly, that he did not advocate anarchy, as the judge says. “I did not advocate anarchy, I did not advocate disorder, I advocated accessibility to education and justice.” He added that his words last May were not just his, but “those of tens of thousands of people who believed in mobilizing against the increase to tuition fees.”
“In my eyes, this is about much more than just sentencing,” added Nadeau-Dubois. “It is about setting a precedent. A dangerous precedent, by which spokespeople of the student movement, the labour movement or the citizenry must from now on be afraid of speaking, for fear of ending up in prison.”
The lawyer for Nadeau-Dubois, Giuseppe Sciortino, believes that the judgement contains many “plainly unreasonable and plainly wrong” conclusions. “There are many errors in this judgement,” he remarked. “For example, in a contempt of court case it must be proven that the accused knew the terms of the court order, and this must be proven beyond doubt.” Sciortino underlines that it was not proven beyond doubt that Nadeau-Dubois knew the terms of the injunction given to the Fine Arts Students Association of the University of Laval.
The lawyer intends to notify the court within the next few days of his intention to appeal. He clarifies that it will be up to a judge to decide whether to suspend a sentencing hearing, which will take place on November 9. According to him, it is possible that his client will receive punishment in spite of his appeal, but it will not be executed until the end of the process. The maximum penalty is a year in prison or a $5000 fine. The former spokesperson could also be given community service.
A Call for Solidarity
Until now, legal fees for Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois have been paid by the l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ). As he does not want to “empty the ASSÉ treasury” for his cause, Nadeau-Dubois is making an appeal for solidarity. He is inviting his supporters to make a donation on his internet site. If the amount raised does not cover all his costs, ASSÉ spokesperson Jérémie Bédard-Wien has affirmed that the association will continue to support Gabriel Nadeau Dubois. He declined to reveal how much the defense of the former CLASSE spokesperson has cost ASSÉ until now. “We make regular financial statements,” he said. In the next few weeks, ASSÉ will launch its own financing campaign to support other members of its association who must defend themselves in the courts.
In his decision, judge Denis Jacques relied heavily on the arguments of the plaintiff, Jean-François Morasse, a visual arts student at the University of Laval, who won an injunction last spring to be able to attend his classes.
On May 13, speaking on the air with RDI, Nadeau-Dubois declared: “I believe it is entirely legitamite for students to act to make sure there is respect for the democratic choice to strike. It is entirely regrettable that there is a minority of students who is using this tribunal to overturn the collective decision that was made. We find it entirely legitimate that people take the necessary means to make sure the strike vote is respected. And if this takes picket lines, we believe that this is an entirely legitimate technique.”
Yesterday, about 200 people met in downtown Montreal to show their support for Nadeau-Dubois.
Québec Solidaire invites supporters to participate in the fundraising campaign for Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. “This judgement is not only against Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, but against the thousands of us who recognize ourselves in the printemps érable.”