Supporters of Leonard Peltier have been campaigning for his release from prison for decades, dating back to President Clinton’s term. President Obama continues to grant commutations to more than 1,000 people and more can be expected before he leaves office, giving many hope that Peltier may have been on his way out.
Unfortunately, despite a personal plea from Pope Francis, Obama won’t be granting clemency to Peltier, despite having served 40 years in custody and a series of health complications, according to the New York Daily News.
“The application for commutation of sentence of your client, Mr. Leonard Peltier, was carefully considered in this Department and the White House, and the decision was reached that favorable action is not warranted. Your client’s application was therefore denied by the President on January 18, 2017,” the Department of Justice wrote in an email to Peltier’s lawyer.
Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who was charged with killing two FBI agents in the 1970s following a shootout. Because he’s spent 40 years insisting he was innocent, he hasn’t been eligible for parole.
“I am prepared to die here. I would prefer it be back at my home, but I’m a realistic about my chances,” Peltier told the Daily News in a past interview.
Hopefully, he’ll one day be granted his wish and be released.