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Lawyers for a Saskatchewan woman want kidnapping and other charges against her dropped, citing alleged human rights abuses, including unnecessary strip searches and denial of medical care.

In a court filing, they listed allegations of personal abuse against Dawn Walker, but said the actions could not be separated from the systemic abuse of Indigenous women in the justice system.

“The experience of this Aboriginal woman and mother is an extreme example of how the Saskatchewan police and judicial system criminalizes and incarcerates Aboriginal women and children who they initially failed to protect from violence,” the lawsuit said. example.”

Elaine Craig, a law professor at Dalhousie University, said the specifics of Walker’s case are one thing, but the research on systemic discrimination is clear — Aboriginal women often don’t get the same access to other Canadians in the justice system. treatment. She said she was pleased that Walker’s team raised these issues so prominently.

“Honestly, when we start to understand that this is not an individual problem, but a systemic problem, a problem related to the legacy of colonialism, as you know, a problem related to the legacy of colonialism, that’s actually what the change is. happened. The legacy of colonialism, the intergenerational damage done by residential schools,” Craig said.

Walker was accused of abducting her children and faking her death. U.S. authorities finally located the couple in Oregon last summer after a multi-day search for the couple in the Saskatoon area and beyond.

She was brought back to Saskatchewan and now faces charges of kidnapping, fraud and identity theft. She pleaded not guilty to all charges. In a written statement, Walker said she had to flee for safety.

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