Lawmakers Urge Biden To Grant Clemency To Convicted Activist

Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

( – In a letter, lawmakers, mostly Democrats, called for President Joe Biden to grant Native American activist Leonard Peltier clemency. The man was convicted in the 1970s of shooting and killing two FBI agents.

The lawmakers who sent the letter on Friday, October 6, are led by Rep. Raul Grijalva, (D-Ariz.), the House Natural Resources Committee ranking member. Apart from Grijalva, the letter has also been signed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal, (D-Wash.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.). The letter has also been signed by one House Republican, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.).

The lawmakers said that in recent years, there have been doubts related to the circumstances which led to Peltier’s conviction in 1977 over the deaths of two agents two years earlier. The letter was sent before October 9, which was the Indigenous People’s Day this year.

In the letter, the lawmakers stated that they were writing this letter as part of their commitment to ensure that all Americans receive justice and to ensure that the U.S. government is going to be held accountable in cases where injustice has been performed, as is Peltier’s case. They added that they were in support of the Tribal Nations of the United States and the Indigenous people across the world who have been supportive of Peltier’s release.

They said that in recent years, a number of important figures who were connected to Peltier’s prosecution have moved forward and have spoken about the prosecutorial misconduct and constitutional violations that had occurred during the investigation.

Peltier was convicted back in 1977 of killing FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams two years prior during a shootout. He has been denied parole in the past, but has continued to maintain his innocence while he and his supporters aimed to have his conviction overturned.

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