Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee:
Obama Should Free AIM Activist Leonard Peltier
“On October 31, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto utilized new presidential powers of pardon on the very day that they went into effect to free Mayan school teacher Alberto Patishtán Gómez. We hope that President Obama was paying attention. Patishtán had been imprisoned for 13 years following a trial riddled with irregularities and violations of his constitutional rights. Condemned to 60 years in prison for his ostensible participation in an ambush in which seven policemen were killed, his unjust imprisonment was denounced by Amnesty International and human rights organizations throughout Mexico and the world. His case is one of many in which the legal system served the interests of groups holding political power and demonstrates how structural racism continues to generate lack of access to justice for indigenous peoples, in Mexico and throughout the Americas.
This history of injustice has many parallels in a story from the United States: that of Leonard Peltier. The American Indian Movement (AIM) activist has been in prison for 36 years, convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975. The incident and the many irregularities in the investigation and the legal case against Peltier are documented in the film “Incident at Oglala,” narrated by actor Robert Redford. Like Patishtan’s incarceration, the imprisonment of Peltier should be understood as part of an enduring history of colonialism in Native communities in the United States. The 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee (site of a historical massacre of Lakota people) marked the beginning of a three-year period of political violence on the Pine Ridge Reservation that was largely government generated. In the 1970s, the FBI carried out significant operations against organized American Indians through the COINTELPRO program. Documents later released show extensive surveillance, infiltration, and government participation in the generation of paramilitary violence on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. The paramilitaries, known as GOONS, killed more than 60 people, many of them elderly and children. No charges were ever filed.
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/09/obama-should-free-aim-activist-leonard-peltier