Friday, August 21, 2009

UPDATED: Leonard Peltier, America’s most famous and longest serving political prisoner PAROLE DENIED! Next Chance, 2024, He Will Be 79 Years Old

Can You Say:
"International Human Rights Violation"?

The statement from his lawyer:
" is not true that Leonard Peltier participated in "the execution style murders of two FBI agents," as the Parole Commission asserts, and there never has been credible evidence of Mr. Peltier's responsibility for the fatal shots as the FBI continues to allege. Moreover, given the corrupt practices of the FBI, itself, it is entirely untrue that Leonard Peltier's parole at this juncture will in any way "depreciate the seriousness" of his conduct and/or "promote disrespect for the law." (From the response by Thomas J. Harrington, Executive Assistant Director, FBI Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branchto to the Parole board's decision ) We will continue to seek parole and clemency for Mr. Peltier..." [In Full]
The full set of legal documents relating to Leonard Peltier's trial and incarceration, plus FOIA information about COINTELPRO and the FBI's persecution of Peltier, AIM, and other Native activists can be found HERE

More information about how you can help [HERE]

Sign the petition here to DEMAND CLEMENCY!

The previous petition totaled almost 27,0000 signatures

Peltier denied parole
By Gale Courey Toensing
Indian Country Today
August 21 2009

BISMARCK, N.D. — American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents, has been denied parole after authorities decided that releasing him would diminish the seriousness of his crime (...and the prosecutor himself conceding during an appellate hearing that, “We do not know who shot the agents.”), the Associated Press reported in mid-afternoon on Aug. 21.

Peltier had his first parole hearing in 16 years in July. He will not be eligible for parole again until July 2024, when he will be 79 years old. [In Full]

For all intents and purposes, it began with the Pan-Tribal occupation of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay
The 1973 armed occupation of Wounded Knee (Original dead links in re Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge @ MRZine replaced) along with the siege at the Pine Ridge Reservation one year later (which led directly to the incarceration of Leonard Peltier) are etched deeper in the public consciousness in terms of recent Indian history, but is was the Alcatraz Island occupation that ushered in a new era of Native American activism.

"The occupiers," writes Ben Winton in the Fall 1999 issue of Native Peoples magazine, "were an unlikely mix of Indian college activists, families with children fresh off reservations and urban dwellers disenchanted with what they called the U.S. government's economic, social and political neglect." [ In Full @ MRZine]

"I didn't kill the agents," Peltier says. "I didn't order anyone to kill those agents. I am an innocent man. I am an innocent man."

Peltier is now more than fifty years old. Home to him is his cell in the Federal Prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, where 150 years earlier, another Indian warrior, Spotted Tail of the Lakota, was also a prisoner. Later Leonard Crow Dog would have his turn at Leavenworth as well.

Peltier paints beautiful pictures (Dead Link, See HERE) in a native style which are highly valued. He also dreams of freedom. This yearning is easily visible in Peltier's beautiful paintings.

Leonard Peltier hopes that someday, like Nelson Mandela, like "Geronimo" Pratt, he too will be released.
Source - Leonard Peltier: Shackled Eagle

Indian Country Today:
Peltier awaits parole decision
By Gale Courey Toensing

Story Published: Aug 17, 2009

LEWSIBURG, Pa. – There’s a digital clock on the official Leonard Peltier Web site marking the time the American Indian Movement activist has been in prison.

On a recent visit to the clock read “12241 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 43 seconds of ILLEGAL IMPRISONMENT,” then “12241 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 44 seconds of ILLEGAL IMPRISONMENT,” “12241 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 45 seconds of ILLEGAL IMPRISONMENT” and so on – a constant countdown that will either end within several days or continue for an unknown period of time, perhaps years, possibly until Peltier’s life ends.

The Federal Parole Board is expected to render a decision on whether Peltier will be released from prison after serving 33 years on two murder charges by Aug. 21.

Peltier was granted his second parole hearing since 1993 July 28, and appeared before the board to plead his case. The board has 21 days to decide whether to release Peltier or deny parole and keep him in prison indefinitely.

Peltier was convicted in 1977 and given two consecutive life sentences for the murder of FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, who were killed during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota June 26, 1975.

The 64-year-old man has maintained his innocence, but controversy over whether he committed the murders, and over the fairness of his trial persist.

Those convinced of his guilt say he shot the two agents in cold blood and deserves to stay in prison for the rest of his life.

Peltier’s supporters, which include a huge international component, say he is America’s most famous and longest serving political prisoner.

But Peltier’s attorney, Eric Seitz, said the only issue pertinent is the law and that Peltier is eligible for parole.

The events of June 26, 1975 took place against a backdrop of terror that had developed on Pine Ridge. The reservation was under internal siege at the hands of then Chairman Dick Wilson and his “GOON Squad” – the so-called Guardians of the Oglala Nation, who were supported by and collaborated with the FBI and BIA police.

The conflict has been characterized as a battle between Wilson’s secular group and traditional elders and others who were working for election reform on the reservation. More than 60 people from the traditional group had been killed in the two years before the 1975 shootout. None of those killings were investigated by local, state or federal law enforcement agencies.

By 1975 things were so bad that some of the tribe’s elders called AIM for help. A group of AIM activists, Peltier among them, responded and set up a camp on the reservation. On June 26, 1975, two FBI agents in unmarked cars came onto the reservation apparently to serve a warrant to a boy who had stolen some boots. Soon after their arrival, shots were heard and the shoot-out began.

During the battle, the FBI agents and an Indian man named Joe Stuntz were shot to death. The activists fled, anticipating that the reservation would be overrun by FBI and other law enforcement people, which was exactly what happened. In the siege that followed, elders were beaten, houses were burned, people were terrorized and a lot of gun shots were fired.

Peltier escaped to Canada where he was later captured, extradited and brought to trial. Four of the AIM activists were indicted on murder charges, but only Peltier was convicted.

Over the years and through numerous appeals, dozens of allegations and inconsistencies have come to light regarding the FBI and the prosecution’s handling of the case, including witnesses recanting testimony against Peltier and accusing the FBI of coercing and threatening them into testifying; the FBI tampering with evidence and withholding crucial evidence from the jury, including the results of a ballistics report saying the bullet casing from the crime scene did not match Peltier’s gun...

...and the prosecutor himself conceding during an appellate hearing that, “We do not know who shot the agents.” In Full @ Indian Country Today
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