Washington, (EFEUSA) .- The president Donald Trump pardoned today Michael Behenna, a veteran of the Special Forces of the US Army. convicted of cold-blooded assassination in Iraq of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist in 2008.
“The case of Mr. Behenna has had broad support from the military, Oklahoma officials and the public. (…) In addition, while serving his sentence, he has been a model prisoner.” In the light of these facts, Behenna deserves completely forgiveness
presidential, “said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
Behenna, 35, was convicted of the murder of Iraqi Ali Mansur, a suspected jihadist who was illegally stripped naked and interrogated, before he was shot in cold blood, two in the chest and one in the head.
Mansur had been arrested for his alleged involvement in an explosive attack on a US patrol that included Behenna and in which two soldiers died, Sgt. Adam Kohlhaas, 26, and Sgt. Steven Christofferson, 20.
An intelligence report pointed out that Mansur could have been the mastermind of the operation, so he was arrested at his home, where they found a machine gun and a false passport in which there were records of trips to Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Mansur was interrogated, but finally the high command ordered his release on the grounds that there was no conclusive evidence of his involvement in the ambush.
It was precisely when Mansur was being transferred back to his home that Behenna decided to stop the vehicle and take justice into his own hands.
“I undressed him to intimidate him and told him that he wanted more information about the local leaders of Al Qaeda and about his trips to Saudi Arabia and Syria, and about the explosion, but he would just say, ‘I do not know, I do not know,'” Behenna said. during his trial.
In 2009, a court martial sentenced Behenna to 25 years in prison after considering the defendant guilty of the charges of unintentional murder and violating the military code.
After several appeals, his sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison and in 2014 he was released on bail.
Although, in principle, Behenna could not obtain a presidential pardon until the rest of her sentence is served, in 2024, the lawyer of the ex-soldier, John Richter, confirmed a few months ago that they requested it because of the favorable climate for the military. is currently breathing in the White House.
“We know we have a president who is very sympathetic to the situation that the soldiers, sailors and marines faced in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Richter then told The Washington Post.