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30 Jul, 2009 23:21

A cry for freedom and against injustice

In 1977 Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement and civil-rights group for native Americans, was jailed for the murder of two FBI agents.

Since then, his supporters have claimed Leonard Peltier is a political prisoner in the U.S. and the FBI falsified evidence to frame the activist.

A small group of his family and supporters recently held a vigil in his honor on the side of a highway in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

“I do it to help a fellow brother, whether he’s a relation to me or not. I do it to help him because I, as a Vietnam vet, feel that it’s proper to do as I can do to help someone less fortunate,” said Byron Stein who drove almost three hours to attend the event.

Fortune has worked against Peltier for almost 33 years. The native American activist was convicted of murdering two FBI agents back in 1977, but numerous reports have shown that the evidence was fabricated to make an example of an innocent man.

On the day of his parole hearing, Eric Seitz, parole attorney, announced that the situation remains the same.

“The FBI continues to take a position which is based upon vengeance and revenge, which is what gave rise to this case in the first place, and they’ve never changed,” said Seitz.

Nevertheless, Peltier’s family remains hopeful.

“He’s not gonna live forever, he’s a mortal. We don’t want to see him die in prison. He’s coming home, I know it, I feel it,” said Leonard Peltier’s sister, Betty Peltier Solano.

The Pennsylvania gathering was just one of many across the U.S. and around the world on the day of Leonard’s parole hearing. But while some people speak out close to the prison walls which have confined Peltier for so many years, others, far away from Lewisburg in the U.S. capitol, hardly know about political prisoners in their own country.

Some observers note that while an enormous amount of publicity followed Michael Jackson’s death, very few people ever hear of other newsworthy events, like Leonard Peltier’s case, which is probably the way the U.S. government wants it to remain.