1,000 signatures reached
To: President Joe Biden:
The Time for Justice is Now! Ask President Biden to Grant Clemency to Leonard Peltier!
Dear President Biden:
We write to you today in support of Leonard Peltier’s petition for executive clemency and urge you to expeditiously commute the remainder of his sentence.
Leonard Peltier is a 78-year-old enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (ND). He has been imprisoned for 47 years, making him the longest-serving political prisoner in the United States. Nothing is more emblematic of the mistreatment of American Indians and the uneven hand of the criminal justice system than the handling of his case by the federal government. Leonard Peltier has galvanized generations of Indigenous activists and grassroots movements, yet he remains in confinement. Leonard is a symbol of Indigenous pride and we once again form a collective voice, asking yet another President to grant Leonard Peltier his freedom.
Why is this important?
Mr. Peltier is elderly and in failing health and we fear he will not ever make it back to his homelands at Turtle Mountain. We also fear you will miss the opportunity to free a man whose continued incarceration represents to Native America the worst of a federal law enforcement system who for decades carried out acts of racism and injustice throughout Indian Country.
Leonard Peltier is serving a sentence for aiding and abetting in a case where his co-defendants were found not guilty on self-defense grounds. For this, he is serving a longer sentence than most principals in murder convictions.
Mr. Peltier’s conviction has been widely recognized as the result of a flawed prosecution that included blatant constitutional violations, prosecutorial misconduct, and a juror’s early-trial admission of racism against Native Americans. Underscoring this, James Reynolds, the United States Attorney whose office handled the prosecution and appeal of the case, wrote to you on July 9, 2021, in support of clemency for Mr. Peltier, critically admitting his own office’s prosecutorial errors and conceding they were unable to prove that Mr. Peltier personally committed any offense on the Pine Ridge Reservation that day. Mr. Reynolds’ letter, referring to all of these factors, included the following statement: “Leonard Peltier’s conviction and continued incarceration is a testament to a time and a system of justice that no longer has a place in our society.”
Our letter joins those from national and international human rights organizations, leading voices on criminal justice issues, religious leaders, dignitaries from around the world, and numerous current and former members of Congress. Notably, in 1993, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), then the Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, endorsed clemency for Mr. Peltier and stated, “As long as the FBI misconduct issues in this case are left unresolved, it will be difficult for Native Americans to trust that the U.S. judicial system will accord them with the same justice it accords to other citizens."
Remarkably, twenty-nine years later, in January of 2022, the current Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) also wrote to you urging the commutation of Mr. Peltier’s sentence saying, “I strongly support your administration’s work to pursue a fair and constitutionally sound justice system. In keeping with those principles, I urge you to commute Mr. Peltier’s sentence.”
This is now about justice. We urge you to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier by commuting the remainder of his sentence. Thank you for your consideration of our urgent request.
* Call the White House: (202) 456-1111
* Email the White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Message: Request the President Biden grant clemency to Leonard Peltier and commute the remainder of his sentence.