Monday, July 15, 2024

Parole request denied for Leonard Peltier, Native American activist imprisoned for nearly 50 years

Leonard Peltier Denied Parole Again, Lawyer Plans Appeal

The federal Parole Commission has denied Leonard Peltier’s bid for parole, his lawyer said Tuesday, marking another setback in the quest to free the ailing Indigenous rights activist who has long maintained his innocence in the killing of two FBI agents almost 50 years ago.

Leonard Peltier, 79, had made a case for parole based on his age, nonviolent record in prison, and declining health, which has been impacted by various medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, partial blindness from a stroke, and bouts of Covid.

Despite his efforts, Peltier’s request for parole was denied, with an interim hearing scheduled for 2026 and a full hearing in 2039, when he would be 94 years old. His lawyer, Kevin Sharp, plans to appeal the commission’s decision, calling it a missed opportunity for the United States to acknowledge the misconduct of the FBI.

Peltier’s case has garnered support from human rights groups, faith leaders, and congressional lawmakers over the years. However, his chances of early release remain slim due to the circumstances of the crime and opposition from law enforcement officials.

Convicted of the fatal shootings of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, Peltier is serving two consecutive life sentences in a federal prison in Florida. FBI Director Christopher Wray praised the Parole Commission’s decision, stating that Peltier had been afforded his rights and due process.

Critics have long scrutinized how Peltier’s case was investigated and his trial conducted. While the FBI maintains that his conviction was obtained fairly, Native American rights groups and tribal leaders argue that Peltier’s case symbolizes the struggle between Native Americans and the federal government.

Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led advocacy organization, expressed disappointment over Peltier’s denied parole, vowing to continue the fight for justice and freedom for the activist.

The ongoing saga of Leonard Peltier underscores the deep-rooted tensions between Indigenous peoples and the U.S. justice system, with the quest for justice and freedom for Peltier far from over.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

Most Popular