JUNE 13, 2000 Despite statements of support from Amnesty International, the National Council of Churches, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Assembly of First Nations, and Leonard Peltier's family, the imprisoned Lakota / Ojibwe activist was denied parole at an interim hearing on Monday in Leavenworth, Kansas. Peltier, 55, has currently served 24 years of two life term sentence so far. He was convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975, when the two were killed during a shootout on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Peltier was originally denied parole in 1994. At that time the Parole Commission set a second full hearing in 2008, but must hold an interim hearing every two years to determine if any mistakes were made. At the hearing yesterday, Peltier's supporter argued that Peltier's failing health, family, and model behavior were grounds to grant his release. They also stated the original 1994 decision was wrong. A doctor's report citing potential problems with his health was submitted as evidence at the hearing. Peltier underwent jaw surgery in March. Among many others, Peltier counts as his supporters Amnesty International, who consider him a political prisoner. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has called for his release, was present to represent Peltier yesterday. Besides seeking parole, recent efforts have focused on seeking a Presidential pardon for Peltier. The campaign has increased in recent months, with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee urging supporters to call the White House to express their opinion. The FBI have begun their own counter campaign, writing letters and placing ads in newspapers urging President Clinton not to grant Peltier clemency. Related Stories:
FBI Promises to Prevent Peltier Pardon (The Talking Circle 4/21)
Peltier supporters respond (The Talking Circle 4/21) Relevant links:
The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
The Leonard Peltier Case. From the Minneapolis Division of the FBI.
National Police Group Urges President to Reject All Clemency Requests for Leonard Peltier. The National Association of Police Organizations, November 10, 1999.
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