Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Press Conference

Leonard Peltier is seen in a cell at the US Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, in June 1992. Photo by Jeffry Scott

Press conference to demand immediate hospitalization and
COVID release from prison for Indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier

Monday, January 31, 2022, 1 p.m.

United States Federal Courthouse, 801 N. Florida Ave., Tampa FL (live stream info below)

Leonard Peltier International Defense Committee: facebook.com/PeltierHQ

Indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who has been held in a US federal prison for 46 years despite global calls for his freedom, tested positive for COVID on Friday, January 28.

Carol Gokee and Jean Roach, co-directors of the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC) are hosting a press conference Monday, January 31 at 1:00 p.m. in Tampa to expose the failure of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to follow the guidelines of the CDC and COVID guidelines issued by former Attorney General William Barr.

At 77 with serious health problems, Leonard Peltier is in great danger. Supporters demand his immediate transfer to a hospital to avoid complications that could put his life at risk. He suffers from diabetes, an aortic aneurysm, untreated kidney disease and high blood pressure. He also recently underwent open-heart surgery.

Despite the extremely high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the BOP had failed to provide reminders to prisoners at Coleman I Penitentiary, particularly the Elders Unit, where Mr. Peltier is imprisoned.

“We ask that Leonard be transferred to a hospital immediately. He waited all day from 8 a.m. Friday when he told authorities he was sick. It hasn’t been tested for hours. It was not until 7:00 p.m. that he was told the test result was positive,” says Gokee.

Roach said: “It is unacceptable that Leonard Peltier and the other prisoners did not receive the booster shot. We demand that he be hospitalized to ensure a greater chance of survival and recovery. Despite his eligibility for COVID release due to the pandemic, we are alarmed that he could be sentenced to death through the negligence of the BOP. Leonard Peltier needs to be hospitalized, not just isolated in jail.

There is a growing chorus of voices calling on President Biden to release Mr. Peltier. On January 26, Brian Schatz, (D-Hawaii) Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, wrote to President Biden, saying in part: “I am writing to urge you to grant a commutation of the sentence of Leonard Peltier.

James H. Reynolds, who was the prosecutor for Mr. Peltier’s trial, wrote to Biden on July 9, 2021: “I am writing today from a rare position for a former prosecutor: imploring you to commute the sentence of a man I helped put behind bars. … I realized that the prosecution and continued incarceration of Mr. Peltier was and is unjust.

National Change.org petition calls for Leonard Peltier’s hospitalization and release: Chng.it/xChWLc5vT6

The press conference will be streamed live on the Leonard Peltier International Defense Committee Facebook page. Please join us at 1 p.m. on January 31 at the link below:

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