Sunday, January 26, 2014

UN Rappoteur Anaya Visits Politcal Prisoner Leanord Peltier

Leonard Peltier, an Anishinabe-Lakota Native American and leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) is now serving his 37th wrongfully convicted year in pison. After being convicted of the murders of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, during a confrontation involving AIM members on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on 26 June 1975, Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in 1977. Having studied the case extensively over many years, Amnesty International remains seriously concerned about the fairness of proceedings leading to Leonard Peltier’s conviction and believes that political factors may have influenced the way in which the case was prosecuted. Peltier has admitted to being present during the incident, but denies shooting any of the agents as alleged by his prosecution.
James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, visited Leanord Peltier on Friday January 24th, 2014; an event which is predicted to advance the growing movement to free Peltier. Although the U.S. courts have acknowledged government misconduct, including forcing witnesses to lie and hiding ballistics evidence indicating his innocence, Peltier was denied a new trial on a legal technicality and all legal appeals against his conviction have been exhausted. With many suppourters, such as "The late Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa,  former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, 55 memebers of the U.S. Congress,  the National Congress of American Indians, Assembly of First Nations, the U.S. Human Rights Network and many others – including a judge who sat as a member of the Court in two of Peltier’s appeals – have called for his release."

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