Activists and protestors call for the release of Native activist Leonard Peltier
A group of human rights activists staged a rally Monday to demand clemency for imprisoned Native activist Leonard Peltier.
According to a report by the Santa Fe New Mexican, protestors carried placards and delivered impassioned speeches outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Albuquerque.
The rally was organized by The Red Nation, which is a Native American advocacy coalition.
The date of the protest was timed to match the date that Peltier was initially arrested.
On that date in 1976, Peltier was arrested and later convicted of aiding and abetting the killing of two FBI agents in a shoot on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Peltier, now 77, is serving two consecutive life sentences at a federal prison in Coleman, Florida.
Pelter’s arrest and conviction galvanized many Native Americans, who saw this issue in the context of colonialism and racism.
Monday’s protest was an emergency action, in response to news that Peltier had contracted COVID-19 while in prison.
This was just the latest call for Peltier’s release.
Prior to this protest, advocates had accused the FBI and the prosecution of coercing witnesses and tampering with evidence.
Notable human rights advocates, including Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Mother Teresa have called for Peltier’s clemency in the past.
President Joe Biden now has the power to release Peltier, under the new Department of Justice rules pertaining to prisoners who have contracted COVID-19.