Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Leonard Peltier Day

Today has been proclaimed as a day of memory and solidarity for Mr Leonard Peltier and hereafter every day on the 26th of June.
Throughout the world this man 'dubbed' the Nelson Mandela of North America is considered a political prisoner. With the support of AIM (The American Indian Movement), Amnesty International, global religious and political leaders, as well as over 20 million individuals, Peltier continues to fight not only for personal freedom but for justice for all Native Americans.
Leonard Peltier was convicted  for the deaths of two FBI agents who died on this day in 1975 in a shoot out at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Mr Peltier was an AIM leader who had been asked by the traditional people at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, to come and help protect these people from violenceand to protect the peoples land  from mining operators,for uranium. In the two years prior  to the confrontation more than 60 indians at the Pine Ridge Reservation had been killed, without anyone being brought to justice for their crimes.
The confrontation in which the two FBI agents were killed after the agents had entered the reservation  with an arrest warrant. A fire fight  ensured. Evidence was presented at trial to show that the agents had recieved multiple shots and were quickly disabled beforebeing shot dead at point blank range. Two other AIM  leaders were initially charged with the agents' murders and were tried seperately, no evidence at the time was presented to link them to the killings. They were subsequently acqitted after evidence emerged about the atmosphere and intimidation on the reservation, with the conclusion that they might  have been acting in self-defence.
Following their acquittal, the FBI renewed its efforts to pursue Leonard Peltier, they needed a scapegoat  and he was arrested on February 6th 1976.

He was never given a fair trial, faced with an all white jury,federal autorities quashed or destroyed thousands of pages of evidence which would have led to his freedom.The balluistic evidence was deeply flawed, and no real links  to identify  Mr Peltier with the murder.
His  most recent petition for release on parole was denied in 2009, and I understand that  he is not eligible for consideration for parole again until 2024.
Now  aged 68 in poor health he has been incarcenated for 37 years, in poor health, suffering from diabetes, a heart condition and high blood pressure. Over the years he has become a model prisoner, still proclaiming his innocence,  his committment to his fellow  Native American rights undimmed, he spends his time concentrating on art and writing.
It is time

Some petitions

Official Leonard Peltier website

Immortal Technique - Internally Bleeding
The Beat goes on a tribute to Leonard Peltier

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