Christy Walsh, a victim of a miscarriage of justice, appeals on behalf of Leonard Peltier, unjustly imprisoned for more than forty years.
The Leonard Peltier Defence Committee is calling on everyone to write to President Obama: The Committee says that: “President Obama has asked more than once that we show him the support for Leonard Peltier's freedom.”
There has been a long tradition of solidarity between Native American Indians and the Irish and Leonard Peltier’s case is a worthy one and his release is long overdue. I am laying out a brief summary of Leonard Peltier’s case and have included the relevant links at the end.
Leonard Peltier is an Native American who was convicted for the deaths of two FBI agents killed during a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He has spent over 40 years in jail.
Pine Ridge had been at the centre of Native American agitation during the 1970’s. The Wounded Knee occupation of 1973 marked the beginning of a three-year period of political violence on the Reservation. By 1975 as many as 60 Native Americans had been killed by vigilantes supplied with information from the FBI.
On June 26, 1975 two FBI agents in unmarked cars followed a pick-up truck onto the Jumping Bull ranch. It is unknown who fired the first shots resulting in a fierce gun battle involving more than150 FBI Agents and vigilantes. FBI records indicated that over 40 Native Americans participated in the gun fight in which the 2 agents and 1 Native American had been killed.
The Native American, Joseph Stuntz, was shot in the head by a sniper’s bullet. Mr. Stuntz’s death was never investigated.
Two Native Americans, Bob Robideau, Darrell Butler were found not guilty by a jury in Iowa. The jury concluded that their participation in the gun battle was justified given the climate of fear that existed on the Pine Ridge Reservation. To this day the US Government acknowledge that it does not know who kill the 2 FBI Agents.
Leonard Peltier was extradited from Canada on strength of questionable evidence from 3 alleged eye witnesses. The witnesses all alleged that they had been threatened and coerced by the FBI. However none of the witnesses claimed to have witnessed Leonard Peltier kill anyone. When Leonard Peltier was put on trial, in North Dakota, none of the alleged witnesses were allowed to testify at his trial. And, unlike with the Robideau/Butler trial in Iowa, evidence regarding violence on Pine Ridge was severely restricted.
Judge Heaney, who later denied Leonard Peltier a new trial, has since voiced firm support for Mr. Peltier’s release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to convict Mr. Peltier, the FBI was equally responsible for the shoot-out, and that Mr. Peltier's release would promote healing with Native Americans.
In addition Leonard Peltier is considered by Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Jesse Jackson, among many others, to be a political prisoner who should be immediately released.
The following are links to Amnesty International action page on behalf of Leonard Peltier:
Take Action: Ask President Obama to Grant Leonard Clemency
Take Action: Download a 1 page action sheet
Take Action: Grant Clemency to Leonard Peltier
Read More: Download the Issue Brief on Leonard Peltier’s case
Read more here
You can view a video on the ILPDC home page.
Or the full video. .