Tuesday, August 18, 2009


UPDATE: 8/21/09 Leonard Peltier, Native American activist imprisoned since 1977, just denied parole and won't be eligible again until 2024. He will be 79 years old.

Link to parole story here.

Original 8/18/09 post on Leonard Peltier below:

Incident at Oglala (1992) by Michael Apted

Leonard Peltier is a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and an activist currently serving two consecutive life terms for killing two FBI agents who died during a shootout at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He's been in prison since 1977. A considerable amount of doubt about Peltier's guilt has resulted in a movement for his release, a rigorously researched book by an award winning author, and this documentary by Michael Apted, who also fictionalized the Peltier case in the movie Thunderheart, and gained fame for his documentaries following British youth, such as 28 Up.

National Book Award-winning author Peter Matthiessen wrote a detailed study of the Peltier case in his book, In The Spirit of Crazy Horse. According to the New York Times (10-21-88), shortly after its 1983 publication, Matthiessen and his publisher were sued for libel by FBI agent David Price and former South Dakota governor William Janklow. "The plaintiffs sought over $49 million in damages; Janklow also successfully sued to have all copies of the book withdrawn from bookstores." Both cases were eventually appealed, and the book was published again in 1992.

Leonard Peltier, Native American activist, imprisoned since 1977

The facts surrounding the case suggest that Peltier is a political prisoner being unjustly punished for the Indian uprising of the 1970s. Amnesty International said: "Although he has not been adopted as a prisoner of conscience, there is concern about the fairness of the proceedings leading to his conviction and it is believed that political factors may have influenced the way the case was prosecuted."

"In a recent letter of support, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes Peltier’s incarceration is based on, quote, 'fabricated evidence' and that he was, quote, 'persecuted because of his beliefs and refusal to accept the injustices imposed about the peoples at Pine Ridge.'"

From the Democracy Now! report on Peltier's 2009 parole hearing:

For more information (and how you can help) check out the
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

The American Indian Movement (AIM)

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