Join effort for clemency for Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier
Supporters of Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier are gearing up for a new round of actions before year's end. President Clinton has been asked to grant Peltier executive clemency, and he has confirmed that the clemency petition has reached his desk. A decision one way or the other is expected before he leaves office in January.
Peltier, who's been held in federal prison for 24 years, continues to suffer declining health. This year his case gained a wide new audience with the release of his book, My Life is a Sun Dance. A recent cable TV special has many asking why an innocent man is still behind bars.
The American Indian Movement activist was charged with killing two FBI agents during an April 1975 shoot-out at South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. The prosecutor in Peltier's case long ago admitted, "We don't know who shot those agents." Peltier's trial was split from those of his co-defendents who successfully defended themselves on the grounds of self-defense. But Peltier's trial was separate and later, and he received two life sentences.
The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee says, "Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard these last many years for Leonard. You have brought this case right up to Clinton's desk. But now we must work harder than ever for the next few weeks. We are down to the wire... It is now or never for telling the White House how we feel about the case. We are asking people to call every single day, starting now. While it is possible that a positive decision might take longer, we must make very sure that Leonard's case is not dropped from the list in the early stages."
According to the LPDC, the FBI is mounting its own anti-Peltier phone campaign demanding that no clemency be issued. "We must drown them out. Leonard's support across the country is huge, but we must make ourselves heard more than ever."
To register your demand for Peltier's freedom, call the White House Comment Line at 202 456-1111.
You can contact the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee at (785) 842-5774 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates are available from the New York hotline at 212 539-6027 or www.freepeltier.org.
This article was excerpted and adapted from an article in Workers World, Nov. 23, 2000 by Greg Butterfield.
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