May 26, 2002
United States Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286
Re: LEONARD PELTIER #89637-132
We are writing to you as the citizens of Poland, european country well known of its human rights struggle and grateful solidarity with other people in need. We would like to express our wholehearted support for the parole of Mr. Leonard Peltier who is currently housed at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth. Mr. Peltier has served more than 26 years in prison for the deaths of FBI Agents, Ronald Williams and Jack Coler. After careful consideration of the facts in Mr. Peltier's case, we ask you to grant Mr. Peltier parole. We note that the United States attorneys and the courts have long held that they do not know who killed Mr. Coler or Mr. Williams. In spite of this fact, Mr. Peltier has served more than 26 years in prison for their deaths. Although Mr. Peltier maintains that he did not kill the agents, he has openly expressed remorse and sadness over their deaths. Mr. Peltier has no prior convictions and has advocated for non-violence throughout his prison term. Mr. Peltier does not represent a risk to the public. To the contrary, his release would help to heal a wound that has long impeded better relations with Native Americans.
Furthermore, Mr. Peltier has been a model prisoner. He has received excellent evaluations from his work supervisors on a regular basis. He continues to mentor young Native prisoners, encouraging them to lead clean and sober lives. He has used his time productively, disciplining himself to be a talented painter and an expressive writer. Most admirably, he contributes regular support to those in need. He donates his paintings to charities including battered women's shelters, half way houses, alcohol and drug treatment programs, and Native American scholarship funds. He coordinates an annual gift drive for the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which last year garnered more than 1,000 gifts. He is widely recognized in the international human rights community for his good deeds and in turn has won several human rights awards, including the 2001 Ontario Federation of Labour Human Rights Award and a current nomination for the Right to Livelihood Award.
Lastly, we note our deep concern with Mr. Peltier's health. He is now 57 years of age and he suffers from partial blindness, diabetes, a heart condition, and high blood pressure. Mr. Peltier deserves to live the remaining years of his life in peace. We know, that a lot of our friends here, in Europe, pray for the souls of all victims of violence, but at the same time we also pray for freedom for Leonard Peltier who saw enough of violence behind bars.
Thank you for your time and consideration.