[Pnews] Leonard Peltier - 40th Anniversary of the Incident at Oglala

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 25 10:29:25 EDT 2015


    40th Anniversary of the Incident at Oglala
    <http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/press/40th-anniversary-of-theincident-at-oglala/>

*contact at whoisleonardpeltier.inf
http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/press/40th-anniversary-of-theincident-at-oglala/
*

Forty years ago, on June 26, 1975, two agents of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation (FBI)—Jack Coler and Ron Williams—entered private property 
on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, South Dakota. They drove unmarked 
vehicles, wore plain clothes, and neglected to identify themselves as 
law enforcement officers. They allegedly sought to arrest a young Indian 
man for the theft of a pair of cowboy boots.

Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were camping on the 
property (having been invited there to protect elders from the extreme 
violence on the reservation at that time).

For unknown reasons, a shoot-out began. A family with small children was 
trapped in the cross fire. Throughout the ranch, people screamed that 
they were under attack and many of the men present hurried to return 
fire. When the skirmish ended, the two FBI agents were dead. A young 
Native American man, Joe Stuntz, also lay dead, shot through the head by 
a sniper bullet.

Activist Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in 1977 in connection 
with the shooting deaths of the FBI’s agents. Imprisoned for nearly 40 
years—currently at the federal prison in Coleman, Florida—Peltier has 
been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Nelson 
Mandela, Desmond Tutu, 55 Members of Congress and others—including a 
judge who sat as a member of the court in two of Peltier’s appeals—have 
all called for his immediate release. Widely recognized for his 
humanitarian works and a six-time Nobel Prize nominee, Peltier also is 
an accomplished author and painter.

For two years prior to the shootout, reservation residents were victims 
of beatings, drive-by shootings, and stabbings carried out by local 
vigilantes who collaborated with the FBI.  The AIM activists were forced 
into a defensive posture to protect not only their lives, but the lives 
of others—elders, women, and children. Indeed, Mr. Peltier’s 
co-defendants were acquitted on grounds of self-defense.  Had he been 
tried with his co-defendants, Peltier also would have been acquitted.

The evidence shows the U.S. government’s intent to achieve Mr. Peltier’s 
conviction by any means—including falsifying extradition documents and 
intentionally committing fraud on a Canadian court, as well as coercing 
witnesses, intentionally using false testimonies, and suppressing 
evidence of Mr. Peltier’s innocence during his trial.  By the 
government’s own admission, the critical part of the prosecution’s case 
against Mr. Peltier was the ballistics testimony which, years after his 
conviction, was discovered to be false.  Although the courts have 
acknowledged evidence of government misconduct, Peltier has been denied 
a new trial.*

The Peltier case has been examined by renowned author Peter Matthiessen 
(“In the Spirit of Crazy Horse”) and by a documentary film produced and 
narrated by Robert Redford (“Incident at Oglala”).  The absence of 
fairness in every stage of Peltier’s case troubles many people around 
the world and compels foreign governments and international human rights 
organizations to question Peltier’s continuing imprisonment.

The power to commute Peltier’s two life sentences now rests with 
President Barack Obama.

###

*US Versus Leonard Peltier: Evidence of a Wrongful Conviction. From the 
files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at http://goo.gl/ZbP45h

-- 
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