The Peltier Case

First let me thank the DC Gray Panthers for organizing this rally, calling for the release of Leonard Peltier from prison. I bring support from the Gray Panthers of Montgomery County. Also thanks to John Steinbach who has supplied us with so much basic information about the case. People who have studied these facts have concluded that Leonard Peltier, an innocent man has been in prison for 23 years .

Because of poor medical care his health has been deteriorating during imprisonment. He has lost sight of one eye, suffers from diabetes and heart disease, and due to complications from a childhood condition, suffers from tetanus, making it impossible to open his mouth to properly speak or eat.

After a study of the facts of the Peltier Case, Amnesty International issued the following statement:

"Leonard Peltier has now spent twenty three years in prison. Amnesty International considers Peltier to be a political prisoner whose avenues for legal redress have long been exhausted. The U.S. Government has repeatedly denied requests for a special executive review . Amnesty International recognizes that a retrial is no longer a feasible option and believes that Peltier should be immediately and unconditionally released."

Leonard Peltier has received considerable international support; from parties like the European Parliament, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Desmond Tutu the Dali Lama and many, many more.

As a leader in the American Indian Movement (AIM), Peltier was a target of the FBI Cointelpro program , whose aim it was to neutralize activist leaders by any means, legal or illegal. Those of us who were involved in the antiwar movement at that time, experienced the dirty tricks of Cointelpro and brought a lawsuit against the FBI and DC police , Hobson vs Wilson , demanding compensation for the illegal actions of these government agencies. We were successful.

It is clear that Peltier was the victim of the same kind of illegal government activity.

We say enough to 23 years in prison for an innocent man . Leonard Peltier may die soon if he is not released.

Howard Zinn, respected U.S. historian has said, "every day that he stays in prison has shamed us before the world and the time is long overdue to set him free".

Peltier's petition for release has been on the president's desk for 6 years.

Free Peltier Now !

(Prepared for the Gray Panthers by Abe Bloom 11/99.)