In the News
Prisoners Require COVID Care, Not Torture of Lockdowns
Free Leonard Peltier NOW!
Leonard Peltier, warrior for Indigenous peoples, staunch defender of human rights and one of the longest held U.S. political prisoners, issued a demand for COVID care for all prisoners, including providing boosters and ending the torture of lockdowns. Peltier has been unjustly held as a political prisoner for more than 45 years. In a statement made public January 21, he said “COVID has turned Coleman Prison back to the Dark Ages.” Coleman, where Peltier is currently being held, is a high-security federal prison in Florida. Peltier added, “Now with COVID for an excuse, nothing. No phone, no window, no fresh air — no humans to gather — no loved one’s voice. No relief. Left alone and without attention is like a torture chamber for the sick and old.”
Peltier, now 77, stood up for all prisoners, denouncing the conditions under which they are held and calling for the rights of the prisoners to be respected. He also urged all those concerned about human rights to take a stand in demanding an end to their torture using COVID as an excuse.
Coleman is one of 98 federal prisons in the U.S. at a Level 3 COVID-19 operational level, which means its COVID medical isolation rate is at the highest level. For the facility’s 1,335 inmates, this means no contact with other people within the facility and no visitation from anyone externally.
Peltier is also contending with diabetes and an abdominal aortic aneurysm. And now he has tested positive for COVID, which given his age and health and horrendous prison conditions could be lethal. This is a crime against him and all the prisoners refused needed medical care by the government. Despite the torture and many difficulties, Peltier has continued to staunchly affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples and refused to denounce their struggles. He has stood for his innocence, even though saying he was guilty or renouncing the just struggles of his people would mean release from prison. He has instead applauded the many battles waged, such as at Standing Rock and the Stop Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.
Peltier was framed by the FBI for the killing of two agents when the FBI stormed the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota in 1975. He and others were there defending members of the reservation. U.S. Attorney James Reynolds, who prosecuted the case, has admitted what has long been known — that Peltier is innocent. In a July 2021 letter to President Joe Biden he said, “We were not able to prove that Mr. Peltier personally committed any offense on the Pine Ridge Reservation.” “I have realized that the prosecution and continued incarceration of Mr. Peltier was and is unjust,” he wrote. He called for Biden to release Peltier, using clemency.
By extraditing him to the U.S. in 1976, Canada also played a heinous role in Peltier’s persecution to satisfy the FBI’s lust for vengeance. Canada’s Attorney General who presided over that extradition, Warren Allmand, has also since regretted his action.
Many across the country and worldwide have denounced Peltier’s continued imprisonment and are demanding, Free Peltier Now! Defend Human Rights of All Prisoners!
(Renewal Update, posted February 2, 2022)