US News: Trump Pardons Ex-Army Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Man - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US NewsTrump Pardons Ex-Army Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Man

16:06  07 may  2019
16:06  07 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Watch: Trump pardons ex-Army soldier convicted of killing Iraqi prisoner (Today)

President Trump on Monday granted a full pardon to a former Army lieutenant who previously served five years in prison for fatally shooting an Iraqi man in American custody.

During a deployment in Iraq in 2008, First Lt. Michael Behenna and his platoon believed the man, Ali Mansur, was a terrorist linked to Al Qaeda. They took him to a remote part of the Iraqi desert to question him about a previous attack that left two American soldiers dead, according to court filings. During the interrogation, Lieutenant Behenna shot Mr. Mansur in the head and chest.

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Mr. Behenna has said he acted in self-defense and that Mr. Mansur had thrown a piece of concrete at him and reached for his gun.

Trump Pardons Ex-Army Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Man © Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman, via Associated Press Former Army First Lt. Michael Behenna in Oklahoma, his home state. Mr. Behenna, who was convicted by a military court in the killing of an Iraqi man, was given a full pardon by President Trump on Monday. In 2009, the military court found him guilty of “unpremeditated murder in a combat zone,” and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison, the White House said in a statement Monday. He was released on parole in 2014.

In its statement, the White House said that Mr. Behenna “has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public.”

“Further, while serving his sentence,” it continued, “Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency.”

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Efforts to reach Mr. Behenna on Monday night were unsuccessful.

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The case, which drew national attention, came at a time when the military was increasingly being scrutinized over its treatment of detainees. Many, however, supported Mr. Behenna, and said he had acted justifiably to help American troops in wartime.

The Oklahoma attorney general sent at least three letters over a period of more than a year seeking Mr. Behenna’s pardon. He said that Mr. Behenna did not deserve “the label ‘murderer,’ or the lifelong punishment and stigma that come with being a federal criminal.”

“Simply put, American troops risking their lives in war to protect us deserve a better legal process than the hand that was dealt to Behenna,” one letter states.

Before the pardon, Mr. Behenna was barred in Oklahoma from voting and owning firearms, and would be disqualified from some jobs.

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Mr. Trump’s pardon is in keeping with statements he has made in support of Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, a Green Beret charged by the Army in the 2010 killing of a man linked to the Taliban.

“At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas.”

In Mr. Behenna’s case, Mr. Mansur was bound and blindfolded during the interrogation, which lasted between two and three minutes, according to the court filing. Mr. Mansur’s clothes were cut off with a knife.

“This is your last chance to tell the information or you will die,” Lieutenant Behenna told Mr. Mansur, according to a military court filing. Mr. Mansur said that he would talk, it said, but Lieutenant Behenna shot him.

Lieutenant Behenna told other soldiers after the killing that “he would do it again, and he did not feel bad about it because he just lost two guys,” according to the filing.

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