Communist Party USA
The following statement was issued by the African American Equality Commission. The African American Equality Commission of the Communist Party USA joins along with the millions of progressive-minded people across the globe to call for Leonard Peltier’s immediate release from prison. The CPUSA and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression have long showed solidarity with and called for the immediate release of Peltier. Our party continues this struggle, reasserting our commitment to freedom for all U.S. political prisoners, and to lead in mass struggles towards that goal. After nearly forty-five years of being caged in a federal prison, Leonard Peltier remains the longest-held Indigenous political prisoner in the United States. He has suffered for more than half of his life under these violent and fascist-like conditions, like other long-held political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal. The poor federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to jails and prisons becoming hot spots for the virus to spread rapidly among inmates, leading to high death rates among them, especially the elderly. Though some cities and states throughout the U.S. gave early release to some prisoners with poor health and put others on house arrest, they did not do nearly enough to contain the spread within these facilities. Elderly political prisoners remain, including Peltier who at seventy-seven years old contracted COVID-19 recently. And with Peltier’s underlying health conditions, this virus can be deadly for him on top of the physical and mental strain on his body from so many decades behind walls. Peltier was convicted and framed in 1977 of aiding and abetting first-degree murder of two FBI agents in 1975. The conviction was upheld despite the lack of any concrete evidence of Peltier’s guilt in the murders, which even the police officers that issued the arrest and the federal prosecutors that put him in prison now agree with. Peltier is locked up because of his political positions and beliefs and the white supremacy embedded in this country that murdered Peltier’s ancestors who were native to this land. The FBI wants him to die for it. The struggle to free Peltier is indeed a tough one and will take many forces involved to see him a free man. Notable names such as the late Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu have called for Peltier’s release, as well as Rev. Jesse Jackson and Harry Belafonte. Eleven House Democrats, in October 2021, sent a letter to President Biden and the Department of Justice requesting clemency for the Indigenous elder. More recently, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawai’i urged President Biden to commute the prison sentence of Leonard Peltier in a letter. It is now time to let Leonard Peltier finally go home. Free Leonard Peltier! Free Our Indigenous Elders! Free All Political Prisoners! Sign the petition to free Leonard Peltier here. Contact the White House now and demand that President Biden offer Peltier clemency immediately. Images: International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (Facebook).
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Free Leonard Peltier and all political prisoners!