Democracy Now!

Clemency

23 results
  • The Office of the Pardon Attorney has announced President Obama has denied clemency to imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier.

  • In one of his final acts in office, President Obama shortened the sentences of 209 prisoners and pardoned 64 individuals on Tuesday. The list included Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is now set to be freed on May 17, after Obama reduced her sentence from 35 years to seven. According to her attorneys, she is already the longest-held whistleblower in U.S. history. Manning leaked more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. She has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. We speak with Nancy Hollander, Manning’s appellate attorney, and Chase Strangio of the ACLU, who represents Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon for denial of medical care related to her gender dysphoria.

  • While President Obama has commuted the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the administration has indicated it has no plans to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last week, "The release of the information [Manning] provided to WikiLeaks was damaging to national security. But the disclosures by Edward Snowden were far more serious and far more dangerous." We speak to The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, author of the recent piece, "The True Scandal of 2016 was the Torture of Chelsea Manning."

  • On Tuesday, President Obama also commuted the sentence of longtime Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who has been imprisoned for about 35 years, much of the time in solitary confinement. In 1981, López Rivera was convicted on federal charges including seditious conspiracy—conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López Rivera refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists, who have since been released. Under Obama’s commutation order, López Rivera will be released on May 17. Oscar’s brother José López Rivera joins us from Chicago, as well as Democracy Now! co-host Juan González.

  • While President Obama shortened the sentences of Oscar López Rivera and Chelsea Manning and 207 other prisoners, Obama took no action on 71-year-old imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier is a former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has long maintained his innocence. Peltier’s attorney Martin Garbus joins us here in New York.

  • President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of two high-profile political prisoners.

  • Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez says he has lobbied for President Obama to grant clemency to Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, but has so far not received a strong response. López Rivera has been in prison for about 35 years, much of the time in solitary confinement. In 1981, he was convicted on federal charges including seditious conspiracy—of conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists, who have since been released. In a rare video recording from prison, Oscar López Rivera said the charges against him were strictly political.

  • Watch Part 2 of our interview with Robert Meeropol, who is calling on President Obama to posthumously exonerate his mother, Ethel Rosenberg. Supporters say there’s no evidence that Ethel Rosenberg took part in espionage that led to her execution.

  • Two brothers are making a last-ditch appeal to President Obama to clear their mother’s name. Michael and Robert Meeropol are calling on Obama to posthumously exonerate their mother, Ethel Rosenberg. She, along with their father, Julius Rosenberg, was charged with conspiring to share nuclear secrets with the Soviet Union and executed on June 19, 1953. At the time, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover accused the couple of committing "the crime of the century." The government alleged the Rosenbergs, along with Morton Sobell, helped the Soviet Union acquire the secret of the atomic bomb. But supporters say there’s no evidence that Ethel Rosenberg took part in espionage. A new report by the Seton Hall School of Law suggests Ethel was used by the government as a pawn for leverage in its attempt to build a case against her husband. We speak to Robert Meeropol, the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. He was six years old at the time of their execution.

  • Over 100,000 people have signed a petition urging President Obama to grant clemency to Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who has been imprisoned for about 35 years, much of the time in solitary confinement. In 1981, López Rivera was convicted on federal charges, including seditious conspiracy—conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López Rivera refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists, who have since been released. We speak to Oscar’s brother José López Rivera and Melissa Mark-Viverito, speaker of the New York City Council.

  • David Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, has become the latest high-profile figure to urge President Obama to grant clemency for Native American activist Leonard Peltier who has been imprisoned for 40 years.

  • Part 2 of our conversation with Marcus Garvey’s son, Dr. Julius Garvey, who is leading the Justice4Garvey effort.

  • Today we look at another request for a presidential pardon, this one from the family of Marcus Garvey, a pioneering figure in the Black Freedom struggle in the early 20th century who inspired generations of civil rights activists around the world. In the 1920s, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover targeted Garvey for his political activity as a leader of the Pan-African movement. Garvey was convicted in 1923 on a charge of mail fraud and sentenced to five years in jail. His charges and conviction effectively ended Garvey’s political movement and eventually led to his deportation back to Jamaica. We speak to Marcus Garvey’s son, Dr. Julius Garvey, who is leading the Justice4Garvey effort.

  • As President Obama’s last month in office begins, Amnesty International and other groups are calling on the president to grant clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who has been imprisoned for 40 years. The former member of the American Indian Movement was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. Leonard Peltier has long maintained his innocence. The shootout occurred two years after the American Indian Movement occupied the village of Wounded Knee for 71 days. The occupation of Wounded Knee is considered the beginning of what Oglala people refer to as the "Reign of Terror." We speak to Peltier’s attorney, Martin Garbus, and Norman Patrick Brown, a longtime friend of Leonard Peltier’s. He survived the 1975 Pine Ridge shootout.

  • As President Obama’s term nears to a close, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition urging Obama to commute the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. Manning has been held since 2010 and been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. In a letter to President Obama, Chelsea Manning wrote, "The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members. I am merely asking for a first chance to live my life outside the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks as the person I was born to be." For more, we speak with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU, who is representing Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon.

  • On Monday night, legendary musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte joined Democracy Now! at New York City’s historic Riverside Church to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary. As he addressed the crowd, he celebrated the recent victory by Native Americans fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock in North Dakota and called on President Obama to free Native activist Leonard Peltier before he leaves office.

  • Thousands of people gathered in New York City last month for a march calling on President Obama to release a longtime Puerto Rican independence activist from prison. Oscar López Rivera was convicted in 1981 on federal charges, including seditious conspiracy — conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was also accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists who have since been released. 2015 marks López’s 34th year behind bars. He is scheduled for release in 2027. We discuss López’s case with Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, Democrat for New York and the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress.

  • Hundreds of Puerto Ricans rallied this week to call for the United States to release the Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera. Wednesday marked his 32nd year in prison. In 1981, López  was convicted on federal charges, including seditious conspiracy — conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. In 1999 President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists who have since been released. In a rare video recording from prison, López said the charges against him were strictly political. Calls are increasing for López to be released from Nobel Peace Laureate South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Eduardo Bhatia, president of the Puerto Rican Senate. To talk more about the case, we speak with Luis Nieves Falcón, a renowned Puerto Rican lawyer, sociologist, and educator. He is the editor of the new book of López’s letters and reflections called, "Oscar López Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance." We also talk with Matt Meyer, long-time member of the War Resisters League.

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