A Call to Action: Release Wrongfully Incarcerated International Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier"


Manage episode 321215152 series 2865072
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Actions in cities throughout the United States took place on February 7th, 2022, calling for the immediate release of international Indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier. February 7th, 2022, marks the 46th year of Peltier’s incarceration and January 28, 2022, he tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid 19) virus at the United States Penitentiary at Coleman, FL (USP Coleman 1). Leonard Peltier, from the Anishnaabe and Lakota Nations, was unjustly convicted in the deaths of two FBI agents in a June 26, 1975, shootout in Oglala, SD between members of the American Indian Movement, defending the Oglala community and the FBI. Peltier’s two co-defendants were acquitted by reason of self-defense. Peltier, who was later extradited from Canada under questionable circumstances was tried separate. Peltier’s trial was replete with prosecutorial misconduct, falsified testimony, fabricated evidence, even the autopsy presented to the jury was done by an examiner who had never seen the bodies of the two agents. The former US Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, James Reynolds, who supervised the post-trial sentencing and appeals admitted they “shaved a few corners” and “we could not prove Leonard Peltier personally committed any crime on the Pine Ridge Reservation” in his letter to US President Joe Biden calling for Peltier’s release. Today, Peltier is a 77-year-old inmate with a host of co-morbidities that should, according to CDC Guidelines, have prioritized him for a Covid Booster Shot. CDC guidelines call for booster shots at seven months, yet 11 months after Peltier received his Covid 19 vaccine, he had not received a booster shot. Visitors to USP Coleman 1 have noted the facility is not mandating vaccines for its guards or staff, Guards and staff were seen both without masks and improperly wearing masks, social distancing was neither encouraged nor enforced and booster shots had not, until recently, been available to any inmate at USP Coleman 1. Both the ILPDC and mutual aid organizations offered to donate N-95 masks for every inmate at Coleman were denied. The United States Department of Justice, through the Attorney General issued guidelines for Covid Release to Home Confinement for inmates who were elderly and or had compromised immune system or Co-morbidities on March 26th and April 3rd, 2020. Leonard Peltier at 77 years old with a host of comorbidities including diabetes, hypertension, heart condition, and an aortic aneurysm undeniably meets those conditions. Furthermore, his home community on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota continues to request his return to his home community. Today on American Indian Airwaves, Marcus Lopez and myself speak with Carol Gokee and Jean Roach (Cheyenne/Lakota Nations) co-directors from the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC) who, along with friends, families, human rights organizations, and allies are calling for Peltiers immediate release. Both of our guest has and continue to maintain contact with Peltier and we start part one of this two-part interview with Jean Roach providing listeners with a brief history leading up to the wrongful incarceration of international political prisoner Leonard Peltier.

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