Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
Write Leonard Peltier
SAN FRANCISCO - In a letter, dated August 1, 2011 and released overnight to Native News Network, lead counsel for Leonard Peltier, Robert R. Bryan, writes::
"The conditions under which Leonard is presently confined constitute cruel and inhumane treatment. In view of his advanced age and poor health, it amounts to torture. What is happening is part of the government's long history of genocide of indigenous people."
Bryan provides a factual summary, based on prison reports, interviews and other documents, of what led to Peltier being placed in solitary confinement - the hole.
According to the letter, on June 27 a guard discovered Peltier had sent a 20-pound note from a lady in Scotland.
Bryan writes: "That it even arrived in his cell is suspicious because all mail, other than my legal correspondence, is opened, read and copied by prison officials An officer in a June 27 report described find the currency while reviewing outgoing mail. And concluded 'that inmate Peltier was in possession of money that was not authorized.' As Leonard later wrote: "I did not do anything wrong. The mailroom gave me the currency. I was trying to get rid of it, by mailing it out."
Later that same day, guards conducted a search of Peltier's cell. They found:
"two wires protruding approximately two inches from the wall above the corner post of the upper bunk" and claimed to have experienced an electrical shock when he pulled on them. Leonard explained that nearly a year earlier a former cellmate, since released, was 'manipulating the light fixture.' They argued about it with the man apologizing. Leonard had two other cellmates since then who never mentioned anything about wires. Until the search, he reasonably believed there was no threat to anyone's safety. In fact, neither the guards nor Leonard could even see the wires because they were concealed in a corner above the bunk bed."
During a subsequent discipline hearing on July 21, which was administrative so legal representation was prohibited, the presiding prison officer did not find that Peltier had anything to do with placing the exposed wires in the cell, however he ruled: "that Peltier was aware of the presence of the electrical wire [and] should have taken some sort of action to ensure that the hazard was removed."
"The punishment imposed on Leonard is appalling: 'Forfeit Statutory Good Time: 100 days; Disciplinary Segregation: 60 days; Disciplinary Transfer; Loss of Commissary Privilege: 180 days; Loss of Visiting Privileges: 180 days."
The ruling is being appealed.
Bryan asks that people write to Peltier. Prison officials must read each letter. The address is:
Mr. Leonard Peltier
US Penitentiary Lewisburg
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 1783
Peltier, Lakota, has been in prison for the past 35 years. He was convicted of killing two FBI agents who showed up on June 25, 1975 at a private residence in Oglala, South Dakota.
Many American Indians and others around the world view Peltier as a political prisoner. Through the years, Peltier's supporters have included: the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu, among other prominent names.
posted August 1, 2011 11:00 am edt
Do you have a comment about this news brief? Share it!
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.