Hold the phone — President Obama denied a prisoner’s request for clemency Wednesday.
Mr. Obama, who has granted more commutations than any president in history, denied an application by Native American Leonard Peltier, who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation in 1975.
In an email, the administration’s Office of the Pardon Attorney told Peltier’s attorney that clemency was “not warranted.”
“Your client’s application was therefore denied by the president on January 18, 2017… Under the Constitution, there is no appeal from this decision,” the notice stated.
Advocates for Peltier, 72, said he is seriously ill and would likely die in prison without a reprieve.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite serious concerns about the fairness of legal proceedings that led to his trial and conviction, Peltier was imprisoned for more than 40 years. He has always maintained his innocence. The families of the FBI agents who were killed during the 1975 confrontation between the FBI and American Indian Movement (AIM) members have a right to justice, but justice will not be served by Peltier’s continued imprisonment.”
She said the denial of his application “may have condemned him to die in prison.”
Mr. Obama granted more than 200 commutations on Tuesday, including one for notorious military-secrets leaker Chelsea Manning. The president is expected to issue another round of commutations on Thursday; he leaves office on Friday.