Leonard Peltier Denied Parole
On August 21, the U.S. Parole Commission again turned down the parole request of Leonard Peltier, a prominent member of the American Indian Movement who was framed up on charges of killing two FBI agents during the federal assault on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. The commission coldbloodedly declared Peltier would not be considered for parole for another 15 years! For the 64-year-old Peltier, who suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, partial blindness and a heart condition, this is a declaration by the racist rulers that this courageous man will die in prison.
Grotesquely, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley gloated, “Leonard Peltier is exactly where he belongs—federal prison, serving two life sentences.” Wrigley added the claim that Peltier “has neither accepted responsibility for the murders nor shown any remorse,” a standard ruse for denying parole to those imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. As the PDC pointed out in a June 29 letter to the Parole Commission demanding freedom for Peltier (see WV No. 940, 31 July):
“One court proceeding after another has laid bare the evidence of his innocence and of massive prosecutorial misconduct. In a 1985 appeals hearing, the government’s lead attorney admitted, ‘We can’t prove who shot those agents.’
“In 1986, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the trial jury could have acquitted Mr. Peltier if records improperly withheld from the defense had been made available.
“In November 2003, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals stated, ‘Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in its prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed.’
“In 2001, in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and lawsuits, the U.S. government admitted it had withheld a staggering 142,579 pages of evidence of its secret COINTELPRO efforts to persecute and convict Mr. Peltier.”
Yet again, the depraved capitalist rulers have demonstrated there is no justice for fighters for the oppressed like Peltier. We join with millions worldwide in demanding: Free Leonard Peltier now!