A panel of three British Columbia judges has ruled that environmental activist Tre Arrow should be returned to Oregon.
But the man Rolling Stone once termed an "environmental rock star" isn't coming south just yet.
The FBI wants Arrow, 33, to stand trial in Oregon for a pair of 2001 arsons that resulted in $260,000 in damage to logging and cement trucks (see "Tre's Latest Call," WW , March 21, 2007).
In April Arrow appeared a hearing in the B.C. court of appeal, where he applied to have the extradition set aside on the grounds that his alleged co-conspirators lied in testimony against him. The unfavorable decision came last Friday, Oct. 19, for Arrow, who is referred to in court documents as Michael Scarpitti, although he legally changed his name in 2000.
"The application to set aside the decision to surrender Mr. Scarpitti is denied," says the ruling by judges Lance Finch, Ken Smith and Ian Donald.
"There is no air of reality to the allegations that Mr. Scarpitti's alleged co-conspirators falsely implicated him in order to obtain plea agreements," the judges found. "A properly instructed jury acting reasonably could, on the evidence presented, convict Mr. Scarpitti of the acts alleged."
Arrow is in jail in the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria. He's been incarcerated in Canada since authorities arrested him in Victoria on March 13, 2004, on charges of shoplifting a pair of bolt cutters.
Arrow, who couldn't be reached for comment, has said before that he will use every avenue of appeal he has in Canada rather than return to the United States, where he says he is unlikely to get a fair trial.
"He can appeal.... It's not the end of the line," says a longtime Arrow supporter in Victoria, Dani Rubin. "What's the point of going down there so he can be thrown in jail for 40 years by a kangaroo court?"
Arrow's next legal step would be appealing to Canada's Supreme Court, though Rubin fears Arrow is unlikely to win there because Canada and the United States tend to cooperate on extraditions.
Still, he'll continue to fight.
"He's very strong-willed, and he'll persist," Rubin says. "He's physically good. [Nearly] four years in jail is taking its toll. It's a really long fucking time.… He's surviving."
Some press reports in Canadian media say Arrow has $350,000 to spend on his legal defense. Rubin says that while several family members and supporters have committed to posting bonds for Arrow's bail, there is no legal fund. Instead, Rubin says, Arrow's legal fight is continuing largely thanks to the efforts of several activist lawyers who have taken on the case.
"He is underresourced legally in terms of finances—substantially underresourced," says Rubin. "It's certainly not the case where there's hundreds of thousands of dollars waiting for him to do battle with the FBI. This is a contest between an elephant and an ant."
In 2000, Arrow scaled the U.S. Forest Service building in Portland and perched for 11 days on a 9-inch ledge to protest logging at Eagle Creek.
Arrow later ran in 2000 as a Pacific Green Party congressional candidate in Rep. Earl Blumenauer's east Portland district. He captured 6 percent of the vote.