President Obama on Tuesday granted clemency to Oscar Lopez Rivera. He has been in federal prison since 1981 after being convicted of armed robbery, weapons charges, and seditious conspiracy to violently overthrow the U.S. government as a member of the Puerto Rican Marxist separatist group FALN.
The Chicago and New York cells of FALN planted approximately 120 bombs throughout the U.S. from 1974 to 1983, resulting in several dead, dozens injured and property damage. Rivera's apartment had served as the headquarters for his own team's bomb-making efforts.
In the years following his sentencing, some politicians and entertainers called him innocent or the next nearest thing, a political prisoner. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., has lobbied the Obama administration to grant commutation of his sentence. Obama on Tuesday ordered Lopez-Rivera be let go effective May 17.
In 1999, former President Bill Clinton granted clemency to most FALN members. Lopez-Rivera refused the offer for a number of reasons. The Clinton commutation offer did not include his particular codefendants and would still have required him to serve 10 years of a 15-year sentence for an attempted jailbreak.
Former President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and "Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda have asked Obama to take action. The actor took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he will return to his lead role if Lopez-Rivera should attend after being let out.