Sen. Tina Smith & six of her colleagues ask Biden to release Leonard Peltier from prison

WASHINGTON (KVRR) – Seven senators, including Minnesota’s Tina Smith, send President Biden a letter requesting commuting the sentence of Native activist Leonard Peltier.

He was convicted of murdering two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975 and his trial was held in Fargo.

“It would really be an awesome feeling to know that we get to know him as a person versus knowing him, for me, has always been through the books. Through the documentaries,” Peltier’s daughter Kathy said.

Leonard Peltier has been behind bars for 46 years. He’s considered a political prisoner by Amnesty International.

The seven Democratic senators asking for his release cite former U.S. Attorney for Iowa James Reynolds, a prosecutor during Peltier’s appeal, saying “the prosecution and continued incarceration of Mr. Peltier was and is unjust.”

“You’ve got to look at the ballistic testing. His bullets didn’t match. There’s been testifying that he… Yeah, he did shoot, but it didn’t hit them, the two FBI agents,” Kathy Peltier explained.

They also show support from his release from world leaders like Pope Francis, Nelson Mandela and Saint Mother Teresa over the years.

In a statement to KVRR, Smith says ‚ÄúLeonard Peltier dedicated his life to combatting racism and championing civil rights. There is evidence of serious misconduct that led to his unjust conviction and that he was a target of the racism he was working to dismantle. Multiple officials who prosecuted him have since acknowledged the injustices of his trial. He should be granted clemency, and each day he remains in prison is unjust.”

“Let’s take some action. To me this is just talk right now,” Kathy Peltier said.

This action from Capitol Hill has come since the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first Native to become a cabinet secretary, met with the Peltier family.

Now at age 77, Peltier has numerous health issues. His daughter says he has suffered an Aortic aneurysm, diabetes, a prostate issue that could be cancerous and had a triple bypass. Peltier got COVID in January and his daughter says he hasn’t seen a specialist.

She believes, based on these issues and senators being behind her, he should be let out of prison to enjoy what time he has left with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Peltier is up for parole in 2024.

Click here to read the letter the seven senators sent to President Biden.

Categories: Crime, Local News, Politics / Elections