FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 12, 2000
LEONARD PELTIER REVIEWED FOR PAROLE
Native American rights activist, Leonard Peltier was reviewed for parole today during a hearing held at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. The hearing was held to determine whether there is any reason why the Parole Commission should change their 1993 decision to deny Peltier parole. Today Peltier's representatives told the Commission that Peltier's health, serious family needs, and his positive program achievements were all reasons for the Commission to reconsider their denial of parole to Peltier. They also argued that the Commission's original decision to deny parole was wrong. They said the Commission has yet to justify their reasons for denying his release in excess of what their guidelines recommend.
The Parole Examiner refused to read a report from Dr. Peter Basch who, after reviewing Peltier's recent medical records, determined that problems with Peltier's health could result in "recurrent central retinal vein occlusion, stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure." The doctor also noted that several of Mr. Peltier's health problems had not been treated appropriately by prison medical staff.
Attending the parole hearing were representatives for Amnesty International, the National Council of Churches, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Assembly of First Nations. Legal council included attorneys Jennifer Harbury, Carl Nadler, and former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Jean Ann Day, survivor of the Pine Ridge "reign of terror" also testified.
The Parole examiner did not respond to pleas from Amnesty International or the National Council of Churches, and he showed no interest in the eight parole plans offering Peltier housing and employment from various Native Organizations and tribes.
Furthermore, the examiner refused to accept or consider the 10,000 letters collected over the last three months from US citizens, human rights organizations, luminaries and members of the international community supporting Peltier's release.
Without deliberation or the consideration of any documents presented, the parole examiner recommended that Peltier's sentence be continued until his next full parole hearing in 2008. Those in attendance reported that the examiner wrote the denial while the presentation was still being made.
Peltier's defense council will continue to protest the Parole Commission's denial of parole to Peltier in federal court. Supporters will continue efforts to gain Peltier's release through a grant of Executive Clemency. Leonard Peltier was originally convicted for the murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. However, formerly withheld documents supporting Peltier's innocence would later force the prosecution to admit that they could not prove who actually killed the agents. Despite this, Peltier has remained in prison for 24 years. Amnesty International considers him to be a political prisoner who should be immediately released.
Call the White House Comments Line Today
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Clemency is now our next logical step.
SEND A FAX DAILY.
There is an interview with Leonard Peltier at this address.
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