Leonard Peltier, Supporters Await Result of Parole Hearing
On July 28, political prisoner Leonard Peltier had his first parole hearing in 15 years. Peltier’s supporters rallied outside the hearing demanding his freedom. The parole board is expected to announce the results of the hearing within three weeks.
Peltier is a Native American political prisoner currently imprisoned at Lewisburg Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. He is one of the longest held political prisoners in the world. Peltier was wrongly convicted as part of a political frame up in 1977 and has now spent more than 30 years in prison.
Peltier is serving two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents during a 1975 confrontation on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was targeted for his activism and leadership with the American Indian Movement (AIM). In the early 1970s the American Indian Movement’s leadership of sharp struggles demanding justice for Native Americans led the FBI and U.S. government to target them as part of the secret COINTELPRO program that aimed to neutralize AIM as well as other radical movements fighting for justice and liberation. The FBI continues to vindictively oppose Leonard Peltier’s release, even though the government has admitted they are not sure who actually killed the FBI agents during the 1975 conflict at Pine Ridge.