Native American activist Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned in the USA for over 40 years despite concerns over the fairness of his trial. President Obama must grant him clemency before he leaves office.
Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), which promotes Native American rights. In 1975, during a confrontation involving AIM members, two FBI agents were shot dead. Leonard Peltier was convicted for their murders but has always denied killing the agents.
There are serious concerns about the fairness of proceedings leading to his trial and conviction. A key eyewitness was allegedly coerced into testifying against Leonard Peltier following months of FBI harassment and threats. Her testimony was used as the basis to extradite Leonard Peltier from Canada. She later retracted her testimony, but was not allowed to be called as a defence witness at his trial. There are further concerns about the evidence linking Leonard Peltier to the shootings as well as the prosecution’s withholding of evidence that might have assisted Leonard Peltier’s defence. Parole examiners have thus far failed to take mitigating factors into account. In February 2016 Leonard Peltier’s lawyers filed a petition for clemency with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Leonard Peltier is 72 years old. He is imprisoned in Florida, approximately 2,000 miles from his family in North Dakota. It is both a physical and financial hardship for his family to visit him. After decades of incarceration, some of which was spent in solitary confinement, there are serious concerns about Leonard Peltier’s health. He suffers from diabetes, and in January 2016 was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which can be fatal if it ruptures.
Given that all legal remedies have been exhausted and that Leonard Peltier has spent 40 years in prison and is in poor health, Leonard Peltier’s lawyers filed a clemency petition with the Obama administration in March. President Obama must commute Leonard Peltier’s sentence and release him on humanitarian grounds and in the interests of justice.
1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
• Urging President Obama to grant Leonard Peltier’s application for clemency on humanitarian grounds and in the interests of justice;
• Urging that he is given access to appropriate medical treatment in accordance with his wishes, and is moved to a facility that can address his medical needs as a matter of urgency until he is granted release.
Contact below official by 19 January, 2017:
The Honorable Loretta Lynch
U.S. Department of Justice
Comment Line: +1 202 353 1555
Contact form: https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice
Salutation: Dear Attorney General Lynch
2) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION
Here’s why it is so important to report your actions: we record the number of actions taken on each case and use that information in our advocacy. Either email firstname.lastname@example.org with “UA 33/16” in the subject line or click this link.