International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

An open letter to Obama, penned by US attorney involved in the case against the Native American activist, is a stunning development in his bid for freedom

A senior US attorney who was involved in the prosecution of Native American activist Leonard Peltier has requested that Barack Obama grant clemency, with a rare plea that has energized the campaign to free the high-profile indigenous prisoner.

James Reynolds, who supervised a key part of the case against Peltier, who claims he was wrongfully convicted of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents, wrote to the president that clemency for the 72-year-old would be “in the best interest of justice in considering the totality of all matters involved”.

“There seems to be no point in taxpayers paying his room and board,” Reynolds, 77, said by phone on Wednesday. “It’s time to call it quits.”

James Reynolds, a former US prosecutor, is supporting clemency for Leonard Peltier.
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James Reynolds, a former US prosecutor, is supporting clemency for Leonard Peltier.  Photograph: Courtesy of James Reynolds

The letter is an extraordinary development for the Native American activist who has been incarcerated for more than 40 years. Civil rights activists and indigenous leaders have long argued that he faced a deeply flawed and unfair trial.

The clemency push from a former US prosecutor, which is highly unusual, comes as Obama has continued to pardon or commute the sentences of hundreds of prisoners in his final weeks in office, raising hopes that he will also release political activists jailed for decades.

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CALL TO ACTION: Peltier supporters are asked to please send thank you cards and letters to Mr. James Reynolds. 300 Palm Drive, #4, Naples, FL 34112.


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