Soutien à Leonard Peltier, modèle de lettre pour officiels


To : All Concerned United States Officials

As a [member of the ______ Party / member of the French Parliament / memberof the European Parliament / representative of the Labour Union ________ / representative of the Non-Governmental Organization ______/etc.], I wish to express my grave concern about the case of Mr. Leonard Peltier, a Native American leader who has now been incarcerated for some 24 years in the United States. He has long been recognized as a political prisoner by such human rights luminaries as Amnesty International, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Dalai Lama, the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others; and he has the massive support of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. More than any other person, he has come to symbolize the tragic and disturbing relationship between the United States government and its own Native Peoples. His case is well known in Europe where the European Parliament adopted two resolutions asking for his freedom. Mr. Peltier hasalso received the support of the Belgian and Italian Parliaments, the Human Rights Commission of the German Parliament, Prime Minister of France Lionel Jospin among other.

I am particularly disquieted by the clear indications of FBI misconduct in the prosecution of this case. Specifically, Mr. Peltier was extradited from Canada on the basis of affidavits signed by Ms. Myrtle Poor Bear, who claimed to be an eyewitness to the murders in question. She later admitted that she had never met Mr. Peltier, and had signed only after being terrorized by FBI officials. However, she was not permitted to testify about this matter at his trial. The other young trial witnesses were intimidated and coerced as well by FBI officers. Moreover, at the trial a key FBI witness changed his long standing description of the vehicle involved in the shoot out, so as to unjustly link Mr. Peltier to the scene. Perhaps most chillingly, the FBI concealed from the defense a ballistic test report reflecting Mr. Peltier's innocence. It would seem clear enough that a gifted Native American leader has just served twenty four years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Despite the above, Mr. Peltier has been denied a new trial and is now overdue for parole. He has served more time than most prisoners convicted of the same crimes. His conduct in prison has been exemplary and he has participated in numerous humanitarian and civic activities from behind bars. By way of illustration he has helped to establish Native American scholarships, and special programs for Native American youth, has served on the advisory board of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, has sponsored children in Central America, organized the annual Christmas drive for the people of Pine Ridge Reservation, and promoted prisoner art programs. He is clearly a man of great compassion, and should have been set free long ago through the mechanisms of parole or clemency.

Lastly, I note that Mr. Peltier is now 55 years of age and in deteriorating health. He suffers from a heart condition as well as diabetes. He has lost most of the vision in one eye due to poor medical care. I'm also appalled to see that it required over two years of excruciating pain for him and the constant pressure by his lawyers, his defense committee and his many supporters worldwide to reverse the Leavenworth Penitentiary and the Bureau of Prisons authorities' stances in order to allow Dr. Eugene Keller of the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to successfully perform a surgery to Mr. Peltier's jaw while the prison officials had arbitrarily diagnosed his jaw condition as stable, with no improvement possible and therefore warranting no surgery.

Soon it will be too late for justice in this tragic case. Should Mr. Peltier become disabled or die in prison, the damage to the US Government's relations with the Native American citizens will be irreversible. I ask that urgent action be taken to set Mr. Peltier free at long last so that he may share his gifts with his beloved people. I also ask that a thorough investigation of FBI misconduct in this case, and indeed with respect to the residents of Pine Ridge Reservation, be carried out at once. After 24 years it is time that justice prevail.