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Human rights action for the Native American civil rights activist L. Peltier (April 24 and 25)


csm_FreePeltier_1976a4975cSunday, April 24, 2016 Hannover – starting at 2:00 pm. Footpath between Hans-Böckler-Allee 26 and Messeschnellweg and Monday, April 25, 2016 – starting at 8:00 am between the entrance Messe Nord and the tram station Messe Nord.

On Sunday and Monday, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) will hold two creative vigils in Hannover and send an appeal to US President Barack Obama to pardon the Native American civil rights activist Leonard Peltier, who has been innocently imprisoned for the last 40 years. The President is visiting the capital of Lower Saxony to attend the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe together with Chancellor Angela Merkel. This year, the United States are the host country of the Hannover Messe.

“Mr. President, please pardon the Native American civil rights activist Leonard Peltier, who has been innocently imprisoned for 40 years,” says the letter the human rights organization addressed to the US president. “40 years of imprisonment are enough for a sick old man! Please don’t let him die in his cell.”

Following a shootout on the premises of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (USA) on June 26, 1975, Peltier was arrested and held responsible, although he claimed to be innocent. There was never a fair trial – and the proceedings weren’t reopened, despite formal errors and despite his health situation. Peltier, who is now 71, is suffering from diabetes and a heart disease. After suffering a stroke, he is also almost blind in one eye. His only hope is to be pardoned by President Obama, whose term in office will be over in a few months.

President Obama has shown more interest in the living conditions of the indigenous people of the United States than his predecessors. During his term in office, he visited the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota and invited representatives of tribal governments to annual meetings at the White House. In 2011, the umbrella organization, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), officially issued a resolution calling for Peltier to be pardoned.

Over the years, many prominent voices have taken sides with Leonard Peltier, including the late Simon Wiesenthal, director of the Documentation Centre of the Association of Jewish Victims of the Nazi regime; the Nobel Peace Prize winners Rigoberta Menchu, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, artists such as Robert Redford and Harry Belafonte and many members of the US-Congresses as well as members of parliament in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, members of the European Parliament and members of the German Bundestag. In addition to the STP, Amnesty International advocates for the civil rights activist too.

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