Many people have come to this human rights forum on my behalf. They came with such dedication and love that they were willing to make a sacrifice of their time to stand before you and ask for your intervention in my case. Twenty years later, at this most critical point in my long incarceration, I speak for myself. The state of my Native Peoples, sadly, remains dim. Our traditional ways of life and personal freedoms are consistently threatened. I, with so many others, worked tirelessly in trying to better life for my Native brothers and sisters. These things live in my memory and remain my hope to once again experience the gratification of helping those in need and put behind me this terrible nightmare. I have just begun my 22nd year of unjust imprisonment. The United States admits to being directly responsible for my fraudulent extradition from Canada in 1976. They have admitted to preparing and submitting falsified affidavits to Canadian officials. This alone violates treaty protocol, extradition, and international law. In addition, they extradited me on a charge of murder, fully aware that there was no direct evidence against me, and now keep me confined by calling me an aider and abettor.
My Constitutional Rights and right to due process under law have been denied. These are rights that should be guaranteed and extended to all citizens. Since 1986, the United States government and U.S. prosecuting attorneys have conceded that there is no direct evidence to prove guilt. They have repeatedly stated, on record, that they do not know who killed the FBI agents on June 26th, 1975 on sovereign Lakota territory of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The trial and subsequent appeals were riddled with lies, fabrication, and coercion and reveal deep conflicts of interest. The parole process as well has been an embarrassment to the United States legal system.
These numerous unjust actions have been formally and periodically challenged by human rights organizations around the world. Amnesty International, London, has issued a letter directly to our Attorney General, Janet Reno. The letter supports and calls for Presidential intervention. This represents a dramatic modification of past support as Amnesty takes their strongest position in two decades in asking for a decision directly from the United States President. How long does an organization ask for something before it must strengthen its request? We have petitioned the United States now for over 20 years.
My case is well documented in this place. Over 600 pages of documentation was received and entered by Secretariat Julian Berger of the Working Group for Indigenous Populations in 1995. There have been significant developments regarding support for my release. Bill Richardson, the newly appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations, has been my ardent advocate. It was in a 1995 United Nations session of a Working Group that a Congressional press release from Mr. Richardson was submitted. In that release, he stated, "I do believe the way that the federal government conducted its investigation and prosecution of Mr. Peltier was wrong and inconsistent with the standard of due process afforded individuals under our Constitution...We need to be as vigilant as ever. And we must not forget that Leonard Peltier's executive clemency application remains under review"...In addition senior U.S. Federal Judge of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Gerald Heaney, has also appealed to the president on my behalf. At some point, a healing process must begin...favorable action by the President in the Leonard Peltier case would be an important step in this regard."
The facts are clear, and the base of support is strong and growing. We have the support of so many, including the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and the European Parliament. I ask for the official support of the United Nations. I ask a formal resolution be drafted, passed, and that it be directly sent to the President of the United States. This resolution should call for executive clemency, a process which is currently under consideration. There is a great sense of urgency as the President will soon be due with a decision. The Department of Justice is now inexcusably late with a recommendation to the President.
The voice of Native America can still be heard, despite the overwhelming oppression of my people. I am now 52 years old, and have suffered the pain of missing my children, and now my grandchildren, growing up. They have suffered by having to mature without the regular touch and guidance of a father and grandfather's hand. My health has deteriorated as well, due to these long years of neglect, abuse, and false incarceration. I am currently improperly assigned on work detail. Here at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary I am being forced to work at the furniture factory where I suffer severe headaches caused by unsuccessful surgery on my jaw, which continues to swell and causes me constant pain.
All life is sacred. I did not kill those agents. I pray for them and those they left behind, parents, wives, children. I also pray for the prosecutors, judges, parole officers, and prison officials who have made so many hideous decisions in my case, and in the cases of others. And I will pray for you, for your direct involvement and that you will reaffirm your commitment to freedom and justice.
I am an Indian man. My simple request is to live like one.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Please write, and/or call, and demand executive clemency for Leonard Peltier. The information is below:
The White House
1600 Pennsyvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Comment line: 202-456-1111
FREE LEONARD PELTIER!!!
"to the people who struggle for their freedom,
i embrace you and send you my love and strength."
--Leonard Peltier / POW --
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Additional information on Leonard
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