Welcome to the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, the official communications resource on the freedom campaign for Leonard Peltier.
Who Is Leonard Peltier?
Native American activist Leonard Peltier has spent over 40 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Prosecutors and federal agents manufactured evidence against him (including the so-called “murder weapon”); hid proof of his innocence; presented false testimony obtained through torturous interrogation techniques; ignored court orders; and lied to the jury. People are commonly set free due to a single constitutional violation, but Peltier—innocent and faced with a staggering number of constitutional violations—has yet to receive equal justice.
Why Is Peltier Still in Prison?
Eligible since 1986, Peltier is long overdue for parole. The U.S. Parole Commission has yielded to the objections of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in denying Peltier’s applications for parole at every turn—most recently in 2009 when he was told he will not receive another full parole hearing until 2024 when, if he survives, he will have reached nearly the age of 80 years. From the time of Peltier’s conviction in 1977 until the mid-1990s—according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, DOJ—the average length of imprisonment served for homicide in the United States ranged from 94 to 99.8 months (about 8 years) prior to being released on parole. Mr. Peltier has the right to equal justice, i.e., application of the existing standards at the time of his conviction and sentencing. Even if you were to take Peltier’s two consecutive life sentences into account, it is clear that Peltier should have been released a long time ago. Instead, according to 1977 standards, he has served the equivalent of over five life sentences.
Further, in determining his release date, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has failed to take into account Mr. Peltier’s time in prison prior to his conviction in 1977 (over one year), as well as the good-time credit (20 years total, to date) earned. Instead, the BOP has consistently stated that Mr. Peltier’s presumptive release date is October 11, 2040.
Join These and Other Supporters
As it had done over a decade ago, the National Congress of American Indians (representative of over 500 Indian nations in the United States) unanimously passed an historic resolution on Mr. Peltier’s behalf in late 2011. See other recent expressions of support here or visit our archive of support statements (made prior to 2009) here. Recognizing that Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for decades for a crime he did not commit, various other governments, dignitaries, and human rights organizations from around the world also have called for Leonard Peltier’s release.
What You Can Do
- Call President Obama for Leonard Peltier: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414, and send a text to these numbers if your cellphone provider allows for text-to-landline service (a fee may apply) ;
- Email President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments;
- Post a comment on Obama’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/potus/?fref=ts&hc_location=ufi or message him at https://www.facebook.com/whitehouse (or https://m.me/whitehouse);
- Send a tweet to President Obama: @POTUS or @WhiteHouse and hastag #FREELEONARDPELTIER or #FreePeltier; and/or
- Write a letter: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.
- You also can send a post card to the President here.
- Watch the calls to action by our friends at the Human Rights Action Center. Then please urge President Obama to grant clemency.
- Also visit the 2016 clemency campaign for Leonard Peltier hosted by Amnesty International – USA and take action.
- The Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), DOJ, welcomes communications regarding clemency matters. Express your strong support of Leonard Peltier’s application for clemency in a letter, email and/or phone call to the OPA. Make reference to Leonard Peltier #89637-132 and his application for clemency dated February 17, 2016. Urge the OPA to recommend to President Obama that he grant clemency to Leonard Peltier: Honorable Robert A. Zauzmer, Acting Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20530; Telephone: 202-616-6070; Email: USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov.
Note: Much of the information contained on this site is derived from “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” by the renowned author Peter Matthiessen. The book is the definitive work on the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Peltier case. The author successfully defended against lawsuits brought by former Governor and Congressman William Janklow from South Dakota (convicted of manslaughter in 2003, jailed, and forced to resign his congressional seat in disgrace) and FBI Special Agent David Price in three different states, surviving an eight-year litigation. As acknowledged by the courts, Matthiessen’s “reputation for not being sensationalistic or scandalous is well known. He is a highly respected author and his works have received wide acclaim.”