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U.S. Parole Commission Denies Leonard Peltier’s Request for Freedom; President Biden Should Grant Clemency   

Internashonal

U.S. Parole Commission Denies Leonard Peltier’s Request for Freedom; President Biden Should Grant Clemency   


In response to the U.S. Parole Commission denying Leonard Peltier’s request for parole after a hearing on June 10, Paul O’Brien, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:  

“Continuing to keep Leonard Peltier locked behind bars is a human rights travesty. President Biden should grant him clemency and release him immediately. Not only are there ongoing, unresolved concerns about the fairness of his trial, he has spent nearly 50 years in prison, is approaching 80 years old, and suffers from several chronic health problems.   

“Leonard Peltier has been incarcerated for far too long. The parole commission should have granted him the freedom to spend his remaining years in his community and surrounded by loved ones.   

“No one should be imprisoned after a trial riddled with uncertainty about its fairness. We are now calling on President Biden, once again, to grant Leonard Peltier clemency on humanitarian grounds and as a matter of mercy and justice.”  

Background  

  • Leonard Peltier, Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), was convicted of the murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International joins Tribal Nations, Tribal Leaders, Members of Congress, former FBI agents, Nobel Peace Prize winners and former U.S. Attorney James Reynolds, whose office handled Peltier’s prosecution and appeal, in urging his release.   
  • Parole was also rejected at Peltier’s last hearing in 2009. Due to his age, this was likely the last opportunity for parole.   
  • A clemency request is pending before President Joe Biden. President Biden has committed to grant clemency/commutation of sentences on a rolling basis rather than at the end of his term, following a review of requests by the White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice.  
  • Amnesty International has examined Peltier’s case extensively for many years, sent observers to his trial in 1977, and long campaigned on his behalf.  Most recently, Amnesty International USA sent a letter to the U.S. Parole Commission urging the commission to grant him parole.   



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