Leonard Peltier Federal Parole Board Hearing Held July 28, 2009
Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist, will attend his first full Federal Parole Board hearing in over 15 years on July 28, 2009, after having spent more than 33 years in prison.
Leonard Peltier was an active member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who was charged with the murder of two FBI agents in connection with events surrounding a shootout at the Jumping Bull Ranch on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975.
Peltier has maintained his innocence and rallied the support of millions of people worldwide who believe he was wrongfully convicted and that circumstances of his prosecution and trial were unfair and compromised.
Leonard Peltier will be 65 years old in September. He is currently serving two consecutive life sentences in prison and is widely considered to be the United States' most prominent indigenous "political prisoner".
Peltier's supporters have established the website Who is Leonard Peltier? to provide more information on his case.
Democracy Now also has an extensive audio interview with Peltier from July 27, 2009: Leonard Peltier Speaks From His Jail Cell
Native American activist Leonard Peltier has been in prison for more than 12,226 days, more than 33 years, certainly one of the longest ordeals of any political prisoner in human history.
With him, our souls have suffered. Our bodies ache for his freedom.
Today, July 28, 2009, Peltier goes before his Federal Parole Board in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. All over the world, beginning in the wee hours of the morning in the South Pacific, prayer vigils, peace marches, ecumenical gatherings, group chantings and all forms of individual meditation will accompany this hearing. It is in many ways one of the most important tests of the new Obama Administration.
Peltier was previously denied parole in 1993.
At his last hearing, the Parole Commission originally denied Peltier parole in 1993 based on their finding that he “participated in the premeditated and cold blooded execution of those two officers.” However, the Parole Commission has since said it “recognizes that the prosecution has conceded the lack of any direct evidence that [Peltier] personally participated in the executions of the two FBI agents.” Peltier has long maintained his innocence and is widely considered a political prisoner who was not granted a fair trial.