Using his executive authority, President Donald Trump has decided to pardon former 1st Lt. Michael Behenna over the killing of an al-Qaeda terrorist in 2008.
Although Behenna had been ordered to capture the terrorist, Ali Mansu, and bring him back to face Iraqi justice, which is notoriously corrupt, he opted to take the man to a secluded spot and kill him. During his trial, Behenna claimed the captured terrorist tried to break free and attack him. Army investigators, however, found these claims to be unsubstantiated.
Mansu was responsible for an improvised explosive device that killed two soldiers from Behenna’s platoon. In 2009, a general court-martial convicted Behenna and sentenced him to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone, according to Fox News. The Army Clemency and Parole Board, however, reduced the sentence to 15 years and gave him parole at the earliest opportunity in 2014.
Before President Trump’s decision to pardon the former Army officer, a great number of celebrities, politicians, former military leaders, and ordinary people signed a petition calling for the pardoning of Behenna. The petition included a former Pentagon inspector general alongside 37 generals and admirals, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.