Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said during a town hall meeting in Puerto Rico that he wants President Obama to release a convicted Puerto Rican terrorist imprisoned in the U.S. for 35 years.
Sanders announced that Oscar López Rivera, 73, should be freed from the U.S. prison.
“Oscar López Rivera is one of the longest-serving political prisoners in history — 34 years, longer than Nelson Mandela,” Sanders said to applause.
“We are talking about a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star. I say to President Obama — let him out!”
Sanders promised “I will pardon him” if elected president.
Why is López Rivera in prison? Explains The New York Post:
López Rivera was a founder of the FALN (Fuerza Armadas de Liberacion Nacional, Spanish for Armed Forces of National Liberation), which waged a violent campaign for Puerto Rican independence.
López Rivera was arrested in Chicago in May 1981 and was convicted of trying to overthrow the U.S. government, seditious conspiracy to destroy federal property, armed robbery, weapons violations and interstate transportation of stolen property.
The FALN was responsible for terrorist acts that killed six people and injured 130 others.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton offered clemency to 12 of the FALN members. López Rivera rejected the offer because it was not offered to all of the FALN members. Hillary Clinton denounced the offer of clemency at the time, breaking with her husband.
“When the administration first offered these prisoners clemency, I made it very clear that I had no involvement in or prior knowledge of the decision, as is entirely appropriate, and that the prisoners should not be released until they renounced violence,” Hillary Clinton said in 1999.
“It’s been three weeks, and their silence speaks volumes. I believe the offer of clemency should be withdrawn.”
The Clinton campaign had no comment on Sanders' statements.