Executive Clemency Denied Published on January 19, 2017

President Obama denied Executive Clemency for Leonard Peltier on January 17th, 2017, despite calls from the Pope, from Desmond Tutu, from FBI and Justice Department officials who were involved in the events and legal proceedings, and from millions of advocates and leaders from around the world. The core of his denial is believed to be driven by threats and intimidation from retired and active FBI and others, whose agenda is one of revenge, regardless of the rule of law, of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, and in spite of a majority of world opinion being in favor of clemency.

The “fog of war,” which justified the killings of many civilians during the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, should clearly apply to the war that the residents of Pine Ridge Reservation endured during the 1970s, when Pine Ridge was the “murder capital” of the United States. Leonard was convicted of aiding and abetting the deaths of the agents, when the only other two people charged were acquitted on grounds of self-defense. There can be no aiding and abetting if no crime was committed. Regrettably, the two agents lost their lives during a firefight they instigated, against orders, as did Joe Stuntz, whose death was never investigated.

There are many arguments in favor of clemency, none of which will matter now, as there is no chance a Trump administration will address the issue, leaving the relationship between the United States and the Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island permanently scarred by the injustice of Leonard’s conviction and endless incarceration. None of this will bring back the deceased agents or Joe Stuntz, or those thousands of indigenous leaders in the United States and around the world who struggle to this day for their lands and territories. PDF stands with the Indigenous Peoples of the world, and will continue to do whatever we can do to support and advocate for their rightful place at the table of nations and peoples!

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