SAN FRANCISCO - In a letter, dated August 1, 2011
and released overnight to Native News Network,
lead counsel for Leonard Peltier, Robert R. Bryan, writes::
"The conditions under which Leonard is presently
confined constitute cruel and inhumane treatment.
In view of his advanced age and poor health, it
amounts to torture. What is happening is part of
the government's long history of genocide of indigenous people."
Bryan provides a factual summary, based on prison
reports, interviews and other documents, of what
led to Peltier being placed in solitary confinement - the hole.
According to the letter, on June 27 a guard
discovered Peltier had sent a 20-pound note from a lady in Scotland.
Bryan writes: "That it even arrived in his cell
is suspicious because all mail, other than my
legal correspondence, is opened, read and copied
by prison officials An officer in a June 27
report described find the currency while
reviewing outgoing mail. And concluded 'that
inmate Peltier was in possession of money that
was not authorized.' As Leonard later wrote: "I
did not do anything wrong. The mailroom gave me
the currency. I was trying to get rid of it, by mailing it out."
Later that same day, guards conducted a search of Peltier's cell. They found:
"two wires protruding approximately two inches
from the wall above the corner post of the
upper bunk" and claimed to have experienced an
electrical shock when he pulled on them. Leonard
explained that nearly a year earlier a former
cellmate, since released, was 'manipulating the
light fixture.' They argued about it with the man
apologizing. Leonard had two other cellmates
since then who never mentioned anything about
wires. Until the search, he reasonably believed
there was no threat to anyone's safety. In fact,
neither the guards nor Leonard could even see the
wires because they were concealed in a corner above the bunk bed."
During a subsequent discipline hearing on July
21, which was administrative so legal
representation was prohibited, the presiding
prison officer did not find that Peltier had
anything to do with placing the exposed wires in
the cell, however he ruled: "that Peltier was
aware of the presence of the electrical wire
[and] should have taken some sort of action to
ensure that the hazard was removed."
"The punishment imposed on Leonard is appalling:
'Forfeit Statutory Good Time: 100 days;
Disciplinary Segregation: 60 days; Disciplinary
Transfer; Loss of Commissary Privilege: 180 days;
Loss of Visiting Privileges: 180 days."
The ruling is being appealed.
Bryan asks that people write to Peltier. Prison
officials must read each letter. The address is:
Mr. Leonard Peltier
US Penitentiary Lewisburg
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 1783