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The Martyrdom of Leonard Peltier | Outside Online

6.2.16

The Martyrdom of Leonard Peltier | Outside Online - On the 20th anniversary of the gunfight that led to his imprisonment, Peltier remains at the center of one of the most enduring controversies in American justice: Did a vengeful Federal Bureau of Investigation, desperate to put someone behind bars for the murder of two of its agents, railroad an innocent man? A great many people think so. Moreover, in locking Peltier away for life, did the government orchestrate yet another miscarriage of justice in its checkered relationship with American Indians? Inevitably those who support Peltier have come to see his case as a litmus test in which one's opinion about Peltier becomes a measure of one's willingness to atone for the sins of the past.

As part of a more general exorcism of that past, many continue to question the alleged inconsistencies in the government's evidence against Peltier. Over the past 20 years, numerous high-profile lawyers have worked on his behalf, and his case has brought appeals from Amnesty International, Desmond Tutu, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, and more than 50 U.S. congressmen and senators. Dubbed "America's political prisoner" by leftist groups around the world, Peltier has been compared to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. He's even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.


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