Obama’s failure to act may have condemned Leonard Peltier to die in prison
By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Staff, Jan 19, 2017
Leonard Peltier, an American Indian Movement activist who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1975, will not receive clemency from President Obama.
Peltier was not on the list of 273 people granted commutations or pardons Tuesday.
The Department of Justice dashed the hopes of Peltier, his family and supporters in a terse email sent to his lawyer Wednesday afternoon.
“The application for commutation of sentence of your client, Mr. Leonard Peltier, was carefully considered in this Department and the White House, and the decision was reached that favorable action is not warranted. Your client’s application was therefore denied by the President on January 18, 2017,” it said.
The denial was posted on the U.S. Justice Department’s website Wednesday.
Peltier’s supporters were hopeful of clemency after Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks.
Among those supporting Peltier’s last-ditch bid for freedom is Pope Francis, who wrote to the White House on Tuesday, Peltier’s attorney, Martin Garbus, said on Wednesday.
Peltier, 72, is incarcerated at the federal prison in Coleman, Florida, where he is in poor health and this was thought to be his last opportunity to be released from prison.
The decision not to grant clemency was applauded by Ed Woods, a former FBI agent who has fought for years to keep Peltier imprisoned.
Supporters argue Peltier was wrongly convicted in the killings of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on June 26, 1975.
He was given two life sentences.
Peltier has always maintained his innocence.
His supporters believe there were many flaws in his trial, appeal and the initial investigation.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” read a statement from Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
“The failure to act may have condemned him to die in prison.”
Peltier’s supporters don’t think he will have a chance of clemency after Donald Trump becomes president Friday.
Leonard Peltier’s projected release date is October 11, 2040, at the age of 96.