political prisoners

Leonard Peltier

May 11, 2001

FBI Withholding of Evidence Not Uncommon 6000 FBI Documents Remain Secret in Peltier Case

The withholding of evidence and obstruction of justice appear to be habitual FBI practices. In recent months, this pattern has become frightfully clear.

Revelations of FBI misconduct in Boston are appalling. The FBI manufactured evidence, which put two innocent men in prison, while the real murderers were protected and allowed to kill with impunity. Evidence about FBI misconduct in the Birmingham bombings is no less disturbing. For years the FBI did nothing to pursue the racist murderers of the four young girls, all the while knowing who the culprits were. And now it has been revealed that the FBI illegally withheld evidence relating to the Oklahoma bombing. Somehow, the news comes as no surprise.

Equally troublesome is the case of Leonard Peltier, the Indigenous rights activist considered by Amnesty International a "political prisoner" who should be "immediately and unconditionally released." The FBI is also withholding evidence in his case.

Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents after the FBI coerced witnesses, utilized false testimony, and intentionally withheld a ballistic test reflecting his innocence at trial. The ballistic test was later released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and it prompted the U.S. Prosecutor to admit, "we can't prove who shot those agents." Yet, Peltier has remained in prison for over 25 years and the FBI refuses to release the 6000 documents still held in secret files today.

Before another victim is allowed to languish one more year in prison, Congress should hold investigations into the FBI's handling of the Peltier case and subpoena the remaining 6000 documents. When the most powerful law enforcement agency in the country considers itself above the law, each of us becomes a potential victim of injustice.


TRUE DEMOCRACY     SPRING 2001     Copyright © 2001 by News Sourse, Inc.