Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Leonard Peltier nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for seventh time

Contact:  Peter Clark
International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Dutch translation by Alice Holemans, NAIS

Leonard Peltier nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for seventh time

Native American activist Leonard Peltier has again been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and for the seventh time. 
"Despite numerous barriers, my uncle has made remarkable contributions to humanitarian and charitable causes," stated Kari Ann Boushee, co-director, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.

An innocent man, Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in connection with the shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1977. Imprisoned for over 40 years—currently at the federal prison in Coleman, Florida—Peltier has been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Over 50 Members of Congress and others—including Judge Gerald Heaney (8th Circuit Court of Appeals) who sat as a member of the court in two of Peltier's appeals—have all called for his immediate release. Peltier also is an accomplished author and painter.
Appellate courts have repeatedly acknowledged evidence of government misconduct in the Peltier case—including knowingly presenting false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Mr. Peltier to the United States, and forcing witnesses to lie at trial.  The federal prosecutor has twice admitted that the government "can't prove who shot those agents."
According to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals "the FBI used improper tactics in securing Peltier's extradition from Canada and in otherwise investigating and trying the Peltier case."  The court concluded that the government withheld evidence from the defense favorable to Peltier "which cast a strong doubt on the government's case," and that had this other evidence been brought forth "there is a possibility that a jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier." 
Along with being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at least six times previously (2004–2009), Mr. Peltier's humanitarian work has earned him numerous awards and distinctions. 
For decades, Peltier has enjoyed the support of Nobel Laureates including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who recently joined with other Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire, Ireland (1976), Jody Williams, USA (1997), Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentina (1980), Shirin Ebadi, Iran (2003), Tawakkol Karman, Yemen (2011), and Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Guatemala (1992) in asking that President Obama commute the sentences of the aging and ailing Peltier.
At 71 years, Peltier suffers from serious medical problems that impair his ability to walk, see, and conduct normal life activities. He suffers from severe diabetes, hypertension and a heart condition, and was recently diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Peltier's 1993 application for clemency was denied in 2009 by then President George W. Bush as one of his last official acts in office.  Mr. Peltier formally re-applied for a commutation on February 17th and awaits President Obama's decision.
 "More than most, my uncle understands the importance of reconciliation, forgiveness and peaceful collaboration in order to advance and preserve human rights for all. He's dedicated his life to preserving his Native culture, tribal sovereignty, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples," said Ms. Boushee. "He's deeply honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award."
The Nobel committee in Oslo, Norway, will announce this year's Peace Prize recipient in October.
What YOU can do:  Call President Obama for Leonard Peltier: 202-456-1111; email President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments; post a comment on Obama's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/potus/?fref=ts&hc_location=ufi; send a tweet to President Obama: @POTUS; and/or write a letter: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.
International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 24, Hillsboro, OR 97123

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