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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Gonzales


The Bush Administration holdovers on the U.S. Parole Commission today

adopted the position of the FBI that anyone who may be implicated in the

killings of its agents should never be paroled and should be left to die in

prison. Despite judicial determinations that the unrepentant FBI fabricated

evidence and presented perjured testimony in Leonard Peltier's prosecution;

despite a jury's acquittal on grounds of self-defense of two co-defendants

who were found to have engaged in the same conduct of which Mr. Peltier was

convicted; despite Mr. Peltier's exemplary record during his incarceration

for more than 33 years and his clearly demonstrated eligibility for parole;

despite letters and petitions calling for his release submitted by millions

of people in this country and around the world including one of the judges

who ruled on his earlier appeals; and despite his advanced age and

deteriorating health, the Parole Commission today informed Mr. Peltier that

his "release on parole would depreciate the seriousness of your offenses and

would promote disrespect for the law," and set a reconsideration hearing in

July 2024. This is the extreme action of the same law enforcement community

that brought us the indefinite imprisonment of suspected teenage terrorists,

tortures, and killings in CIA prisons around the world and promoted

widespread disrespect for the democratic concepts of justice upon which this

country supposedly was founded. These are the same institutions that have

never treated indigenous peoples with dignity or respect or accepted any

responsibility for centuries of intolerence and abuse. At his parole hearing

on July 28th, Leonard Peltier expressed regret and accepted responsibility

for his role in the incident in which the two FBI agents and one Native

American activist died as the result of a shootout on the Pine Ridge

Reservation. Mr. Peltier emphasized that the shootout occurred in

circumstances where there literally was a war going on between corrupt

tribal leaders, supported by the government, on the one hand, and Native

American traditionalists and young activists on the other. He again denied

-- as he has always denied -- that he intended the deaths of anyone or that

he fired the fatal shots that killed the two agents, and he reminded the

hearing officer that one of his former co-defendants recently admitted to

having fired the fatal shots, himself. Accordingly, it is not true that

Leonard Peltier participated in "the execution style murders of two FBI

agents," as the Parole Commission asserts, and there never has been credible

evidence of Mr. Peltier's responsibility for the fatal shots as the FBI

continues to allege. Moreover, given the corrupt practices of the FBI,

itself, it is entirely untrue that Leonard Peltier's parole at this juncture

will in any way "depreciate the seriousness" of his conduct and/or "promote

disrespect for the law." We will continue to seek parole and clemency for

Mr. Peltier and to eventually bring this prolonged injustice to a prompt and

fair resolution.

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