The campaign to free Leonard Peltier is heating up, but he needs support from the public. Amnesty International calls Peltier a political prisoner. He has spent 23 years in prison for the murders of two FBI agents killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975.

Human-rights groups say the FBI knowingly used perjured testimony to obtain Peltier’s extradition from Canada to the United States. Peltier’s lawyers were denied the right to call defense witnesses and prosecutors withheld vital evidence.

On April 30, France’s former First Lady, Danielle Mitterrand, visited Peltier. She acknowledged what activists feared: Peltier’s health is getting worse. He has cancer of the jaw and his mouth is frozen open at 13 millimetres. Peltier has refused any more operations by prison surgeons, claiming they botched two operations in 1996.

The Mayo Clinic, one of the best in the U.S., has agreed to operate on Peltier, but prison officials refuse Peltier permission to go, saying he may try to escape.

Meanwhile, Peltier has just released an autobiography called “Prison Writings: My Life is My Sundance.” You can order it from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) at (785) 842-5774 or email: Proceeds will go to Peltier’s defense.

Peltier’s supporters are fighting to get President Clinton to grant him clemency, which Clinton may do before leaving office.

You can send letters of support to the LPDC at R0. Box 583, Lawrence, KS, 66044, USA. They’ll pass letters on to the right people.

Canadian Justice Minister Anne McLellan recently announced she believes there was “no evidence of any fraud in the extradition process.” Peltier’s supporters say they want her to release an internal review of the case, which the Americans don’t want McLellan to release. People are encouraged to call McLellan about this issue at (613) 992-4621.

The two FBI agents were killed when they went in to investigate a stolen pair of cowboy boots and were killed in a shootout. Battles escalated at Pine Ridge after uranium was discovered in the Black Hills.