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Thursday, July 07, 2005

LEONARD PELTIER DENIED BASIC RIGHTS-UN, HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS INTERVENTION SOUGHT

July 7th, 2005

FROM THE LEONARD PELTIER DEFENSE COMMITTEE HEADQUARTERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

LEONARD PELTIER DENIED BASIC RIGHTS-UN, HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS INTERVENTION SOUGHT

After learning that at the sixth day of his solitary confinement, Leonard Peltier is being denied phone privileges, religious rights, visitation privileges, cannot write out, cannot even breathe fresh air, and is running out of medication, his Defense Committee has launched a national and international campaign asking human rights bodies and advocates to intervene on his behalf. Leonard Peltier is an internationally known Native American political prisoner who has been incarcerated in the United States for almost thirty years for defending his people on sovereign Indian land. His conviction came about as a result of well known, and proven, outrageous government misconduct in which documents were withheld, witnesses intimidated, and false testimony was allowed as evidence, among many other irregularities.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) with the invaluable help of the International Indian Treaty Council (an organization working for protection of the sovereignty and human rights of indigenous peoples in the Americas and the Pacific) has appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, its Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Human Rights, The Special Representatives of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, the National Native American Prisoners Rights Coalition, the Office of Multi-Lateral Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the United States State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, among others. They are asking for urgent assistance in response to the new crisis situation, which has further violated Peltier's rights and is currently threatening his health.

Last Thursday, June 30th, in a move that Russell Redner, Executive Director of the LPDC, describes as "extraordinary domestic rendition", Mr. Peltier was transferred without notice to his attorneys or his family from the United States Federal Prison at Leavenworth Kansas to the United States Federal Prison at Terre Haute Indiana. He is arbitrarily being held there in solitary confinement indefinitely with the resulting suspension of all his prisoner privileges and basic human rights. He was a well-respected model prisoner at Leavenworth, he is an elder, has many serious health problems, and poses no threat to the system. "There is no real basis for subjecting him to this kind of treatment" affirms Barry Bachrach, his lead counsel.

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) had already submitted a communication to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions in 2004 regarding Peltier's wrongly obtained conviction and imprisonment. In yesterday's communication, IITC urges the U.N. Group to exercise its mandate and visit Mr. Peltier in prison.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
RUSS REDNER, LPDC DIRECTOR, 866-534-6151 (TOLL FREE)
BARRY BACHRACH, LPDC ATTORNEY, 508-926-3403
ALBERTO SALDAMANDO, IITC GENERAL COUNSEL, 415-641-4482