President Trump on Monday granted a pardon to Michael Behenna, who had been serving his prison sentence since 2009. Convicted in the unpremeditated murder of an Iraqi detainee in a combat zone, the former US soldier was to serve the prison for 25 years as stated by the military court.
Behenna condemned for killing Ali Mansur, registered for a mistrial, and asserted that the prosecutors hid the evidences that could have favored his case. As he stood in his self-defence, the Army Clemency and Parole Board attending the case reduced his prison sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible in 2014. Till the time he had served five years of prison sentence.
The US soldier’s statements concluded that he interrogated the suspected al-Qaeda member about the 2008 explosion without any permission from the authorities. The former claimed that the explosion had killed two of his friends however; the military had to release the suspect due to lack of evidences, associating him to the explosion.
While the authorities ordered Behenna to transport Mansur back to his village for release, the former took him to a railroad culvert, stripping him naked at gunpoint for questioning and shot him twice in an act of self-defence.
Reciting the US soldier’s case, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Oklahoma elected officials including generals and admirals, the public along with a former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, widely supported the US soldier’s case, signing a brief of his self-defense claim. She even claimed that the US Army’s highest appellate court noted concerns about the handling of Behenna’s case by the trial court.
With his deployment to Iraq in 2007, death of his friends in the 2008 explosion, freeing of the Iraqi detainee who was suspected guilty by the intelligence report and the suspect’s murder in an act of self-defence, the US soldier was largely seen to be a victim of circumstances. In addition, the prosecutors failed in handing over the evidences supporting his self-defense claim.
Earlier in February 2018, Mike Hunter, Oklahoma’s attorney general requested President Trump for Behenna’s pardon. He even renewed his request in April, alleging the outcome of the case was unjustified.
Acknowledging the pleas regarding Michael Behenna’s pardon, President Trump signed an executive grant of clemency, which meant a full pardon to the US soldier.
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