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Leonard Peltier – America’s Longest-Serving Political Prisoner

Today is the 67th birthday of Leonard Peltier, America’s longest-serving political prisoner Leonard Peltier.

Peltier, a Native American activist who was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in its heyday, was convicted in 1977 for the alleged murder of two US FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The following short video gives an overview of current details of the case.

More detailed information, the background to the case,  the trial, and  the FBI COunter INTELligence PROgram (COINTELPRO) used can be found on the website of the Leoanard Peltier Defense Offense Committee.

The LPDOC has sent out  A Call to Action regarding recent Bureau of Prisons treatment of Leonard  including a extended solitary confinement and a pending disciplinary transfer. The website provides  prison and congressional  contact details to direct requests/demands for a congressional investigation into the treatment of Leonard Peltier. It also provides an address to write to Leonard.

The case is covered in the documentary film (90 mins), Incident at Oglala, narrated by Robert Redford.

Please take the time to write letters (or email) on behalf of Leonard, and/or to Leonard himself. Contact details can be found at the LPDOC website.

Messages of support and birthday wishes are circulating the Internet through the likes of Facebook and Youtube.

Human rights organisation The Mario Benedetti Foundation gave out its first international human rights award earlier this week. The award was given to Leonard Peltier.

“Leonard Peltier, who on September 12, 2011 will turn 67, has spent more than half his life in prison. He is a symbol of resistance to repressive state policies by the United States, where there are people in jail for ethnic, racial, ideological and religious reasons,” a foundation statement said.

Ricardo Elena, a member of the foundation’s honorary board, said that the United States,  “likes to think it is the seat of democracy, but it has political prisoners just like a dictatorship might have.”

The Mario Benedetti Foundation was established to support human rights and cultural causes in synch with the work of the Uruguayan writer who it was named for, who died in 2009.


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