Posted at;billboard.com –
Kris Kristofferson, Arlo Guthrie and more headline a benefit concert for the push to parole Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist who may have been wrongly convicted of murder in 1976.
Two days before President Obama left office in January, he denied Native American activist Leonard Peltier’s application for clemency that would have meant an early release from prison. The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee has since hired David Frankel, a civil rights attorney and former prosecutor, to revive Peltier’s fight for freedom. And to help cover legal expenses, Kris Kristofferson will headline a benefit concert Nov. 6, at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Joining him are the folk and country artists Jamey Johnson, Arlo Guthrie, Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings, Rita Coolidge, Joe Ely, Doors drummer John Densmore and Folk Uke. Video messages from Peter Gabriel, Tom Morello and Steven Van Zandt will also be played.
During a shootout on an Indian reservation in 1975, two F.B.I. special agents were murdered execution-style. Nobody knows who fired first. Nobody saw Peltier kill the detectives. Yet he was sentenced to back-to-back life terms and has served 40 years.
Last month, days before Peltier turned 73, he underwent sudden heart surgery at a high-security prison in Florida. Peltier’s poor health could help his chances for parole, Frankel told Billboard. He’ll be eligible in 2024.
“At this point, this is a matter of simple mercy,” Guthrie told Billboard. “There’s no direct proof that this guy committed a crime. In cases like this, we should err on the side of compassion.”…