Peltier Again Not Among Federal Prisoners Chosen by Obama for Clemency

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of 58 inmates. Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier was not one of them.
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Updated 11/4/16. Editor’s note: On November 4, President Obama commuted 72 more sentences, mostly in connection with outdated, harsh sentencing for drug-related crimes. Peltier was not on the list.

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of 58 federal prisoners. Yet, once again, Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier was not among the selected to receive freedom.

According to Sari Horwitz of The Washington Post, Obama has so far granted clemency to 306 inmates (110 of which were serving life sentences) since his administration launched its clemency initiative two years ago.

Peltier is serving two consecutive life sentences for the murder of two FBI agents in 1973 during the Wounded Knee occupation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Since his conviction in 1975, a growing list of celebrities and activists have come out in support of Peltier's release, arguing that an eager prosecution acted incongruously to assure a conviction.

Before his death in 2013, political prisoner-turned president Nelson Mandela also called for the release of Peltier. That same year, Obama commuted the sentences of 46 federal prisoners who received harsh sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

Other celebrities who have petitioned Obama to release Peltier include actor/musician Harry Belafonte, filmmaker Michael Moore, director Oliver Stone, and actor/writer Robert Redford.

"If not you, then who?" Moore said in 2012 at a concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City geared to encourage Obama to release Peltier.