>June 25, 2000
>Freeh: Keep Peltier in Prison
> Filed at 6:00 p.m. EDT
> By The Associated Press
>WASHINGTON (AP) -- Marking the 25th anniversary of the slaying of
>two agents, FBI Director Louis Freeh praised a recommendation
>against parole for the American Indian activist who was convicted
>of murdering them but is considered a political prisoner by his
>``The FBI cannot forget this cold-blooded crime, nor should the
>American people,'' Freeh said in a written statement Sunday.
>On June 12, a parole examiner recommended that Leonard Peltier's
>two consecutive life sentences be continued until his next full
>parole hearing in 2008. The U.S. Parole Commission will review the
>examiner's recommendation in the next two months and make a final
>``It is a testament to the American judicial system and the American
>people that 25 years have not been able to erase or soften the
>facts of the case,'' Freeh said, praising the recommendation and
>noting that Peltier's appeals of his conviction have failed. ``The
>rule of law has continued to prevail over the emotion of the
>On June 26, 1975, FBI agents Ronald A. Williams and Jack R. Coler
>pursued a robbery suspect into the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
>in South Dakota. A shootout erupted with activists from the American
>Indian Movement, and the agents were first wounded, then shot in
>Two suspects were acquitted and a third freed for lack of evidence.
>Peltier, after fleeing to Canada and being extradited to the United
>States, was convicted and sentenced to consecutive life terms in
>1977, despite defense claims that evidence against him had been
>Peltier, 55, has suffered from health problems in recent years,
>including lockjaw, borderline diabetes and a series of small strokes.
>He also is said to be nearly blind in one eye.
>Freeh said the two agents were shot first from 250 yards away and
>then through the face at close range as they lay wounded.
>One of Peltier's attorneys, Jennifer Harbury, said earlier this
>month, ``He is being denied parole because he will not admit he
>shot the agents in the way the FBI says he did. He is being forced
>to admit to a crime he did not commit.''
>Peltier, in an interview published Sunday in the Argus Leader of
>Sioux Falls, S.D., said, ``I have so much remorse. I think about
>it a lot.''
>``I wish I could have prevented it. But I didn't kill those people,
>and I'm very sorry lives were lost that day,'' said Peltier, who
>is imprisoned at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.
>Considered by many supporters to be a political prisoner, Peltier
>has drawn backing from domestic and international human rights
>Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said releasing Peltier
>would be a step toward reconciliation between the government and
>American Indians. Amnesty International, the National Council of
>Churches and the Assembly of First Nations in Canada also have
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