For your information, the following statement was submitted at the World Conference Against Racism by LPDC Canada on the behalf of Leonard Peltier.
LEONARD PELTIER DEFENSE COMMITTEE
World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR), Durban, South Africa,
August 28 to Sept. 7, 2001
Submitted to the Commissions on Indigenous Issues and Institutional Racism and Criminal Justice
RE: THE CASE OF LEONARD PELTIER, NORTH AMERICAN ABORIGINAL POLITICAL PRISONER – FALSELY IMPRISONED FOR HIS DEFENSE OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE, RECOGNITION AND FULFILLMENT OF THEIR CIVIL, LAND AND TREATY RIGHTS.
Greetings to each Commission Chairperson, to Fellow Delegates and Indigenous Elders and Representatives:
We offer you our thanks for your consideration of the case of Leonard Peltier, a world recognized indigenous political prisoner of North
America, who has spent more than 25 years of wrongful imprisonment for having the courage to defend the ancestral land and treaty rights of his
History of the Leonard Peltier Case
Caught in a shootout between FBI agents and indigenous peoples, Mr. Peltier was targeted for the deaths of two FBI agents who were killed on June 26, 1975 on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
While two co-defendants were acquitted on grounds of self-defense in a separate, unbiased trial, Leonard Peltier was forced to endure the most extreme manifestations of racism within the United States criminal justice system.
This has included the deliberate, calculated and systematic removal of his right to a fair trial, a fair appeal process and a just executive political review for the past two-and-a-half decades.
Claiming his innocence and long overdue for parole, Mr. Peltier was told in 1995 he would not be considered for parole until 2008 because he would not concede to guilt for the agents’ deaths.
In 1976, the Canadian government turned down his appeal for asylum in Canada after American officials assured the Canadian government Mr. Peltier would be given a fair trial.
He was then extradited solely on the basis of false evidence supplied by the FBI, despite new and revealing evidence his defense submitted during Canadian appeal proceedings.
In October 1999, Canada’s Justice Minister upheld the extradition stating in part that the conflicting evidence was considered by the Canadian federal
appeals court, when in fact this court, and each and every legal and political forum in Canada and the United States has never given consideration to the full and complete presentation of falsified affidavits
submitted during the extradition proceedings.
Over the past 25 years, parallel efforts in both Canada and the U.S. for a fair trial, hearing or
review have taken place with no success.
In Canada, all matters relating to the Peltier case have been addressed by the Department of Justice which, at all times have and will continue to represent the U.S. government in this
This inherent conflict-of-interest is legitimized under Canada-U.S. extradition treaty rulings and continues to be the basis for a demand for an
independent review of Mr. Peltier’s extradition and subsequent conviction.
Earlier this year, former U.S. President Bill Clinton denied Leonard Peltier executive clemency submitting to the tremendous lobby, protest and misinformation tactics of the FBI and supportive political elements. This was done despite heroic efforts to bring to Clinton’s attention the Canada-U.S. record of injustice that was presented in a spirit of reconciliation and healing on behalf of North American indigenous peoples.
The case of Leonard Peltier is inseparable from the broader indigenous peoples’ struggle against racism and the many forms of institutionalized racism and discriminatory practices that have manifested historically, and continue to thrive today no less than they have a hundred
It is a travesty of justice to all defenders of human rights worldwide that the United States government refuses to allow Mr. Peltier his fundamental right to a fair and impartial review process of a conviction,
which the U.S. prosecutor has openly admitted they do not have evidence to support.
Sufficient evidence now exists, including critical ballistics evidence, to support his innocence and frame-up by federal U.S. government agents. No investigation or mention is ever made of the killing of Joseph Killsright Stuntz, the Native American who also died in the shootout.
Nor is there mention of the climate of fear and intimidation orchestrated by the FBI and their supporters on the reservation during the years 1973 to 1976, which resulted in the murders of up to 60 native peoples who supported the aboriginal land and civil rights movement of the time.
The motivation of government then in collusion with corporate interests was to seek ways to strip the indigenous nations of their lands for exploitation of their resources.
Little has changed both in Canada and the United States for arriving at a just conclusion in this process. The issue of defending the land against state forces of expropriation lies at the heart of Leonard Peletier’s struggle together with the rise for
self-determination and political and economic empowerment of the indigenous peoples of North America.
Canadian Clemency Documentation
This presentation at WCAR in South Africa to the Commissions on Indigenous Issues and Institutional Racism and Criminal Justice is a
significant tabling of documentation of the recent Canadian clemency campaign, together with an appeal for a renewed international demand for Mr.
Peltier’s immediate release from prison.
At the very least, we are calling for a fair, impartial and full review of Mr. Peltier’s case with all evidence denied in the past given full consideration, including disclosure
of all potentially new evidence.
This would include the 6,000 pages of classified documents being withheld under the Freedom of Information Act by the U.S. government on the basis of national security.
It would also include the release of any and all documents being withheld by the Canadian Department of Justice and other related ministries and departments of the Government of Canada.
Who We Are
The delegation submitting the Peltier case today are Canadian peoples, represented under the umbrella of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Canada (Coalition), an advocacy coalition of labour, aboriginal, justice and human rights representatives in Canada including a Canadian-American legal advisory.
Top Officials Have Ignored the Evidence
This documentation was first submitted to former President Clinton and to Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien to enhance and complete the request
for clemency earlier this year.
The documentation contains new evidence first submitted during a legal hearing in Toronto; Ontario Canada presided over by the Hon. Justice Fred Kaufman, formerly of the Quebec Court of Appeal.
On October 25, 2000, the key witness who supplied the evidence relied upon to secure Mr. Peltier’s extradition, testified how the FBI coerced her into
signing the falsified affidavits.
Prime Minister Chretien has now referred the documentation to the federal Justice Minister for a review.
On behalf of Leonard Peltier’s struggle for justice, we are requesting the U.N.’s WCAR to help us voice and expedite our appeal for justice and freedom for Leonard Peltier to all relevant international human rights, legal and political bodies, and to the Governments of Canada and the
We are also issuing a request to Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rappateur of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights on the Situation of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Issues, that he conduct
a full investigation of Leonard Peltier’s case.
This would draw attention and expose the injustice that, we hope can influence governments to seek
ways leading to Peltier’s release.
We are requesting the Canadian government authorize an independent inquiry into all matters related to the extradition of Leonard Peltier including its impact on his trial and subsequent appeals, and the overall violation of his
constitutional right to due process.
We are requesting the Canadian government recommend to the United States government that Leonard Peltier be given a fair and just executive review that would include disclosure of the 6,000 pages of classified documents being withheld under American Freedom of Information (FOIA) rulings.
We are requesting the Canadian government file notice, recommending Peltier’s immediate release on the basis of evidence that he did not receive a fair trial and given humanitarian considerations of his deteriorating health, long-time imprisonment and overdue parole.
United States of America:
We are requesting the United States include the Leonard Peltier case for a full and thorough examination by the United States Senate Judiciary
Committee whose hearings are presently looking into charges of FBI wrongdoings.
This would also include a full examination of FBI domestic intelligence operations and activities related to the civil and constitutional treaty rights of the North American indigenous peoples and its focus of operations on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the early 1970s.
We are requesting the United States agree to disclose all classified FBI and related government documents, in particular the 6,000 pages withheld
We are requesting the immediate and urgent release of Leonard Peltier on the basis of his deteriorating health and that there never was sufficient, credible or reliable evidence to support his conviction for murder.
Any lesser charge of aiding and abetting that would justify his continued imprisonment has never been brought to trial, conviction or sentencing.
At the least, we are requesting a new and fair trial or executive review to allow for evidence previously denied to Peltier and his defense.
In closing, we wish to inform you of efforts to present this case for consideration with the U.N. Human Rights Committee and the OAS Inter
American Commission on Human Rights as well as other distinguished world authorities that would offer Mr. Peltier his constitutional right to a fair
and just hearing.
The documentation we are presenting today exposes the sham of his extradition and false conviction.
This record of injustice and Canada and America’s role in it has concerned international human rights, political and governmental organizations over the years, including the European Parliament, Amnesty International and committees of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Leonard Peltier’s case stands today as a symbol of all oppressed peoples struggling for their fundamental rights and freedoms to live in a world with dignity, respect, equality and justice.
Frank & Anne Dreaver
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Canada
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044
For more information call: 785-842-5774
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Official Web Site.