Sign on Letter from faith leaders calling for release of Leonard Peltier
I write today with an urgent request, hoping you will sign a letter from spiritual/faith leaders, calling for the release of Leonard Peltier, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for nearly five decades. In 1977, Leonard was found guilty of two murders he did not commit and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Even before contracting COVID-19 in prison, Leonard called his daily life hell: “I’m in hell, and there is no way to deal with it but to take it as long as you can. I cling to the belief that people are out there doing what they can to change our circumstances in here.” Many people of conscience are calling for his release — Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, the U.S. attorney who supervised Leonard’s prosecution, and more. Amnesty International has long contended that he was unfairly convicted because of fabricated affidavits, withheld exculpatory evidence, and other prosecutorial misconduct. (For more details, see the author’s editorial at the Los Angeles Times.)
Many have supported Peltier’s clemency pleas:• Pope Francis brought the case to the attention of the Obama White House. • James Reynolds, the U.S. attorney who supervised the government’s prosecution of Peltier, today is lobbying for his release and admits the government still doesn’t know who killed the FBI agents. • Deb Haaland, current Secretary of the Interior, drafted a clemency appeal when she was a congressmember in 2020 with another colleague. An updated appeal was sent to President Biden last month, this time signed by 12 Members of Congress. • Eighty-one Native American legislators from 20 U.S. states passed a resolution last week asking President Biden to expedite Peltier’s release.
Over the decades, Peltier’s case has drawn intense criticism from the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, seven Nobel laureates, legal experts, celebrities like Willie Nelson, Harry Belafonte, and Robert Redford, and — at one point in the ’90s — no fewer than 55 Members of Congress.
Please consider signing the letter from spiritual/faith leaders, calling on President Biden to grant immediate clemency to Leonard Peltier.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of justice, mercy and compassion.
Peace and blessings,