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Parsons said he can't order transfer of Inuk elders

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons.
Justice Minister Andrew Parsons.

 Justice Minister Andrew Parsons has issued a statement about the Muskrat Falls protesters from Labrador who have been imprisoned at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's, saying he can't get involved in transfers.

“The safety and well-being of inmates and correctional staff in the province’s facilities is a top priority. It is also our priority to ensure all inmates have access to cultural supports,” Parsons said in the statement issued this morning as a group of protesters gathered outside Confederation Building.

“Inmates are assessed and transferred based on criteria such as security requirements, medical issues, programming needs, court dates, etc. Highly trained staff with expertise in care of incarcerated persons conduct the assessments. As minister and attorney general, I am not involved in the assessment and decision to transfer an inmate.”

Parsons said government appreciates the concerns people have about Muskrat Falls, but he said once the level of protest exceeds “the limits laid out in the law, we must respect judicial decisions.”

 “The judiciary is completely independent of the legislative and executive branches of government. It is fundamental to this independence that the judiciary and judicial system are not subject to political interference and are neither answerable to nor subject to instruction from the attorney general in the conduct of proceedings before it,' he said.

“The court process is in place to ensure everyone has fair access to justice. We must respect our democratic system and the rule of law and allow the process to proceed without political interference.”

The Labrador Land Protectors group and its supporters have been fighting for the release of the three Inuk elders who were arrested in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in July. They were kept in custody following a court appearance after they refused to commit to obeying a court injunction to not obstruct at the Muskrat Falls energy project.

Supporters have been picketing the HMP since it was known Eldred Davis, Marjorie Flowers and Jim Learning, were being held at the pen.

 

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