Leonard Peltier: Political prisoner or murderer?
He’s a sensitive topic for the FBI. The imprisonment of one Native American man has led a movement that transcends the US borders and illustrates a wound of injustice in America’s indigenous population.
It’s a far cry from justice for Leonard Peltier, the 6 time Nobel peace prize nominee spent his 66th birthday in Prison, marking over three decades since he was convicted of a crime, many argue, he did not commit.
“They have no evidence that he killed anyone and that is in the court records,” said Betty Peltier Solano, the sister of Leonard Peltier.
It began on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. The FBI’s war against the militant American Indian movement, culminated in the deaths of two FBI agents and a native member of the AIM. Although two AIM members were acquitted of the shootings on evidence of self defense, Peltier was extradited back to the US from Canada. The FBI’s lead witnesses in the case against Peltier later recanted their statements which the FBI had used as faulty affidavits and coerced testimony against Peltier. Regardless of the questionable evidence, he was convicted of two life terms in prison.
Peltier has been labeled by foreign heads of state, US lawmakers, Hollywood movie moguls and members of the European Parliament as a political prisoner of the United States.
The Hollywood version of Peltier’s story suggests he was framed by the FBI.
Another account of the shooting in the documentary film ‘Incident at Oglala’ provides witnesses and evidence that lead to a possible set up by the FBI.
RT contacted the FBI’s national bureau in Washington, DC where a spokesman said the FBI would not support a retrial of Peltier’s case and that this is one of the most looked at cases in FBI history.
After numerous appeals, the FBI said justice was delivered in Peltier’s case. But they did not react when asked about the recanted statements and faulty affidavits.
“Even one of the circuit judges wrote a letter saying it’s time to call an end to this. Peltier should be set free, after all the government started the fight,” said former AIM leader and Peltier defender Dennis Banks.
Last year Peltier was up for parole, but he was not freed.
Betty Peltier suggested that the federal government does not want to see Peltier as a free man.
“The government is doing everything they can to keep him in jail as a scapegoat,” she said.
“If the FBI allowed him to go free, it would somehow show that he was a scapegoat,” said Dennis Banks.
In a letter to the public, Peltier writes that he is now US President Barack Obama’s political prisoner.
Which beckons the question, why does the US have political prisoners? And will President Obama break from his predecessors and grant clemency for Peltier?