Happy Birthday NYKI!

  • Posted on: 6 August 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>On August 8, Ontario anarchist prisoner Nicole Kish will be turning 26. This also marks the 5 year anniversary since her nightmare began which ended her up in a prison cell serving a life sentence.

Nyki Kish is the founder of Bound For Glory Magazine, and of Ontario’s Books To Bars, as well as a published poet, author, musician and artist. Nyki recently made the choice to go Vegan, she really loves animals, and she has been involved in many types of activism around prisons and poverty. She also really loves when people send her zines, and she runs a zine distro in the prison.

Please send Nyki a birthday card or letter
Grand Valley, 1575 Homer Watson Blvd,
Kitchener, Ontario
N2P 2C5
Max Unit
Atten: Nicole Kish

If you are interested in learning more about Nyki and her case, or if you are interested in getting involved, check out her support website www.freenyki.org</td><td><img title="TLI" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/Nyki.jpg"></td></tr></table...


Convicted by the Media, Sentenced by the Courts

Supporters of Nicole Kish say she is innocent and the media is guilty.

By Eugene Ochs; June 17, 2011 - The Dominion

HAMILTON — Nicole Kish feels like she’s “living in a bad John Grisham novel.”

Kish was convicted of second-degree murder on March 1, 2011, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years. An activist, artist and a singer-songwriter with no criminal record, Kish has maintained her innocence since the 2007 death of Ross Hammond, which occurred after a large street brawl near the Toronto intersection of Queen and Bathurst.

Friends and supporters of Kish argue the media storm around the so-called "panhandler killer" was partially responsible for her unfair trial and wrongful conviction, and they are fighting for her release.

The physical altercation that resulted in one man’s death, first described by Detective Sgt. Gary Giroux — and then reiterated by both local and national media — as being between “street kids” and “jocks,” began when a woman identified as Faith Watts allegedly asked for money from George Dranichak and Ross Hammond. On the stand at the preliminary hearings and at the trial, Dranichak testified that he and Hammond, who died of a stab wound that night, responded to Watts with sexually derogatory remarks, such as telling her to perform sexual acts if she wanted money. While on the stand, Dranichak went on to acknowledge that their persistence had fueled the confrontation.

Nicole Kish had been walking down Queen Street that night with a large number of people celebrating her 21st birthday. She had been in Toronto only for a day prior to the altercation.

Out of the 20 witnesses to testify at the trial, not one identified Kish or saw anyone stabbed that night. In rendering his verdict, Justice Nordheimer addressed this as being inconsequential, saying, “In this case we are not dealing with direct identification but rather with circumstantial identification.”

Two witnesses did testify to seeing a woman in possession of a knife. Kish’s former co-accused, Faith Watts, testified to having pulled out a knife during the altercation and said she had done so out fear for her life and the life of her boyfriend, who witnesses testify was beaten unconscious. Additionally, a substantial amount of DNA was found on Watts’s clothing. However, Nordheimer attributed the DNA findings as being the “limitations of physical evidence,” and while he acknowledged that the knife belonged to Watts, he goes so far as to suggest the knife may have changed hands three times before its fatal use. Stating his case for conviction, he focused on Kish being stabbed, saying that since Kish had been stabbed, there’s an “irresistible inference” that she must have killed Hammond.

Several surveillance cameras were recording that night; two, however, were inexplicably lost while in police custody: the footage on one was recorded over, and the other was “lost”. The explanation Detective Giroux had provided to the courts was that the video was placed in the evidence box but by the time it came into his possession, the video was simply no longer there. Citing previous case law (R. v. La), Nordhiemer attributed the loss of that video to the “frailties of human nature.”

“It’s dumbfounding,” says Kish via telephone from the women’s prison in Kitchener, Ontario. Reflecting on her conviction and the lack of evidence to substantiate it, she emphasizes that she is not alone, saying, “To one end, I understand oppression. I understand humanity’s long history of abuse; I understand I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to be convicted of a crime I did not commit. I just don't understand why.”

“This was not a fair and impartial trial, but a politically-motivated attempt to vilify a young activist, justify draconian ‘Safe Streets’ legislation and further criminalize and marginalize youth and poor people,” says Kevin McKay, a Professor at Mohawk College and the Executive Director of the Sky Dragon Community Development Centre in Hamilton. McKay first met Kish when she asked if she could use the centre as a drop off location for Books to Bars, a non-profit organization she founded in Southern Ontario which donates reading and educational material to over a dozen correctional facilities. Describing Kish as being “hard-working and passionate,” McKay grew to know her through their joint organizing of the G20 Hamilton Primer and her stage performances at the Sky Dragon. McKay describes Kish’s trial as revealing “a desire on behalf of the police to force a conviction against massive contrary evidence,” in order to obtain the conviction that, from the very beginning, the Toronto Police had promised to the media and the public.

Furthermore, McKay blames the mainstream media for showing an “equally disturbing level of bias and corruption” in what he describes as “erroneous reports” such as the Toronto Sun claiming Kish was identified at trial has having the knife clenched in her mouth (which she wasn’t), or the media labeling her “the panhandler killer” despite the fact that no evidence indicated that Kish had been panhandling.

Many of Kish’s supporters share this criticism of the media. Within hours of the altercation, the case was highly publicized as the “panhandler stabbing,” causing an extraordinary amount of public outcry against the city’s perceived leniency towards panhandling and the homeless. Top city and provincial officials as well as columnists and talk show hosts weighed in on the incident, calling for panhandling to be made illegal in the city. The media storm began before much was known about the case except what was included in press releases from the Toronto Police, which Kish’s mother Christine Bivens said the media treated “as gospel.”

“One of the ways they [the media] shaped the case [is that] Nicole was always referred to as the panhandler despite the fact there was absolutely no testimony that she was a panhandler,” said Bivens. “Contrast this with the portrayal of George Dranichak, purveyor of porn, and his business associate Ross Hammond, whom the media referred to as internet marketers.”

George Dranichak is an owner of a multi-level marketing porn company, which manages such sites as Uncaged Marketing and Guerrilla Traffic. Also, it came to light during the trial that while attending school in Kentucky, Dranichak settled out of court after violently assaulting an individual after forcing his way into the person's dorm. Being someone who runs a pornography marketing company and has a history of violence carries entirely different implications than being an “internet marketer,” and might have provided a very different narrative to the public discourse. However, these elements of Dranichak’s character were left out of media coverage.

When Kish was out on bail she was under a stringent publication ban that prohibited her and her family from speaking publicly about the case. Her grandmother Val Lewis says the ban affected the outcome of the case. She feels this way especially in regards to Kish’s character, saying that Kish “would fight for a cause up to but excluding violence. Violence has never been a part of her makeup. But drawing attention to wrongs always has.”

Despite the media coverage, Kish’s conviction sparked immediate backlash and a grassroots campaign to advocate for her release. Weeks after her conviction, supporters organized a show to raise awareness and funds for her appeal. They held a rally outside the courthouse immediately following Kish’s sentencing on April 4, 2011, which heard the courtroom erupt in chants of “Free Nyki!”

When asked what’s next for the Free Nyki Campaign, Bivens believes that the courts will “overturn Nicole’s conviction if [they find] it wasn’t properly based on points of law.” If this happens, it will make Kish eligible for bail pending a second trial, which is a priority for Kish’s family and supporters.

Eugene Ochs is a writer and activist living in Hamilton, Ontario. He came to know Nicole Kish through both their participation in the arts and in community organizing. He currently supports the campaign to free Nyki.

<3 Nyki <3

Assuming she did not do it, whomever did should be fessing up in order to save their friend. Specially if her appeals run out.

No shit. But can you imagine the strength it must take to sit there knowing your friend actually did it (allegedly), but still step up and do the time? Fuck...we need more people like. That is some serious courage.

It is also possible, of course, that it would't matter even if someone else did "confess." I'm just gonna pull for everyone gettin free, and not having to sacrifice one life for another.

Fuck this world, man. ;_____;

Read up on the case. The admitted stabber did step up. Didn't matter. Nicole was still scapegoated. Seeing as this asshole died as a result of a street brawl involving multiple oogles, exactly who stabbed the fatal stabs probably doesn't matter. At least in the US, everyone involved would have gone down for murder or accessory to murder regardless of who held the weapon.

I didn't see any admission in any of the articles. If that were the case than good, I totally see the courage in keeping your mouth shut but I also recognize the dignity and respect of speaking up when you should.

I don't know if she would have gotten life for just being in the brawl being a white woman in the states. She would have definitely gone to prison though.

"the confession of a former co-accused in regards to having pulled the alleged fatal knife"

from the support site

I don't know about Canada, where I think this happened, but in the US it is totally possible for two people to be convicted for the exact same crime if both are proved beyond a reasonable doubt to have done it. In fact, there have been a number of cases where two people who never knew each other were convicted of the same murder and sentenced to life in prison or death. Yay for the rule of law!

I think any and all female anarchist murderers should definitely be freed!

Just us for Cece and Nyki!

Cece isn't a woman.

-- Lierre Kieth (salmon fucker fucker)

yo fuck you that ain't cool.

the person wasn't serious they were making fun of a second wave transphobic colon licker.


It's not cool and the person isn't serious. Yep, those are both true statements.

^juggalo thread

Nyki's birthday is today, prisoners justice day is friday, and there is a call out for people to drop banners marking both of those things. The callout has been submitted to A-news twice and hasn't been posted, but it's not too late! Drop a banner in the next week against all prison and celebrating Nyki's birthday! Callout follows

Everyone has a
reason to hate prisons. They represent the power of the state to force us to
conform, and they brutally reinforce oppressions, such as those based on race and
gender, that run through society at large. Many of us hate prisons because they
steal away someone we love. For us, we find ways to combine the love and support we
give to our friends on the inside with our desire to destroy the prisons that hold
them. Combining these two threads in our resistance, just one day apart this August
are Prisoners Justice Day and the five-year anniversary of charges against our
friend Nyki Kish. August 10th is Prisoners Justice Day, dedicated to the memory of
those who died unnatural deaths while in prison, and to celebrate the struggles of
prisoners against the conditions of their confinement. On that day,prisoners go on
strike, refusing work and food, and those on the outside who participate in the
against prison take action in solidarity with them. This year, screws across the
country are trying to prevent prisoners from honouring Prisoners Justice Day. This
repression combined with the expansion of the prison system in this country makes
it more important than ever to raise awareness and show solidarity with the
struggles of prisoners. Two days before, August 8th, marks the five-year
anniversary of the charges against Nyki Kish. Nyki is a community activist, poet,
song-writer, traveller, and generally wonderful person, and in March 2011, she was
convicted of a murder she did not commit. Nyki has spent more than a year in jail
now, following the four years on house arrest spent fighting these accusations.
For those close to her, to those who have watched this case unfold, and certainly
to Nyki herself, the five-year mark of this nightmare has a heavy significance.
August 8th is also Nyki's birthday, and this year it's extra important to
celebrate. To mark these two occasions, we're calling on our friends and allies to drop banners in solidarity
with prisoners struggle, against all prison, and in support of Nyki. Aim to drop
your banners within a few days of the 8th and 10th, and be sure to get a picture of
it! We're going to compile all the pictures to send in to Nyki for her birthday --
send them along to freenyki.now@gmail.com. Against prison - Solidarity with
prisoners struggle - Free Nyki! For more information about Nyki's conviction and
the effort to overturn it, check out freenyki.org

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