"If I don’t get clemency, I’m going to die here"
How can a person survive four decades of injustice?
This question weighed heavily on my mind as I prepared to visit Leonard Peltier in the sprawling Coleman Federal Correction Complex in Wildwood, Florida.
Leonard has been in prison for 40 years—more than half of his life. We're concerned about the fairness of the process leading to his conviction, and we believe that political factors may have influenced the way in which the case was prosecuted.
Leonard's health is deteriorating. Join us in calling for his release in the interest of justice.
Leonard Peltier is an American Indian from the Anishinabe and Lakota Nations. He was convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975, during a firefight on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
The FBI knowingly used perjured testimony, and evidence which might have assisted Leonard's defense was withheld by the prosecution. Despite all of this, he remains behind bars, maintaining his innocence.
Leonard once reflected that:
"One thing's sadder than remembering you were once free, and that's forgetting you were once free."
Leonard is 71 now and has an abdominal aortic aneurysm—he told me that he is in pain all of the time. If properly treated, Leonard could make a full recovery... but if the aneurysm ruptures, he has roughly a 10% chance of survival. As Leonard's health fades, his fate rests in the hands of President Barack Obama.
He will not be eligible for parole again for nearly a decade, but he may well not have that long, as Leonard told me: "If I don't get clemency, I'm going to die here—and not from old age."
Make sure President Obama hears the call for granting Leonard clemency. Take action today.
Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and countless others have called for Leonard Peltier's release. Most importantly, Leonard's children have been advocating for him since the beginning of his imprisonment, and now 40 years later their ask is the same—they want their father to come home.
Help them bring their father home.
Senior Campaigner, Individuals at Risk
Amnesty International USA