Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar slammed President Donald Trump for pardoning four Blackwater guards who were tied to the death of 14 civilians in Iraq calling it “disgraceful.”
The President included Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — former security guards from the private military firm Blackwater — in his latest pardoned list announced days before Christmas Day.
The four men were convicted six years ago for their involvement in the infamous Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad in 2007 and were serving long jail terms for killing 14 Iraqi civilians.
Their defense lawyers argued, however, that the four men only returned fire after being “ambushed” by Iraqi rebels.
In 2007, four Blackwater contractors opened fire in a crowded intersection in Baghdad, murdering 14 Iraqi civilians. This week, Donald Trump granted them unconditional pardons. This is a disgrace to our country and to the rule of law. https://t.co/fHilekSA8Z
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 26, 2020
“In 2007, four Blackwater contractors opened fire in a crowded intersection in Baghdad, murdering 14 Iraqi civilians,” Omar, a known critic of President Trump tweeted.
“This week, Donald Trump granted them unconditional pardons. This is a disgrace to our country and to the rule of law,” she added.
The Minnesota lawmaker included a link to her tweet of an opinion piece published by USA Today alleging that the President’s latest pardon “blur the line” between justifying wartime killing and murder.
The four Blackwater guards were working as contractors for the US State Department that time.
Lead investigator may have ties with Iraqi insurgents
In a statement released regarding the President’s executive grants of clemency, the White House said that the full pardons granted to Slatten, Slough, Liberty, and Heard was “broadly supported by the public” including public officials.
“The pardon of these four veterans is broadly supported by the public, including Pete Hegseth, and elected officials such as Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Ralph Norman, Rep. Bill Flores, Rep. Brian Babin, Rep. Michael Burgess, Rep. Daniel Webster, Rep. Steve King, and Rep. Ted Yoho,” the statement said.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted that the four individuals also have a long history of service to the country and were working to ensure the safety of US personnels there when the incident happened.
“These veterans were working in Iraq in 2007 as security contractors responsible for securing the safety of United States personnel. When the convoy attempted to establish a blockade outside the “Green Zone,” the situation turned violent, which resulted in the unfortunate deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians,” the statement wrote.
“Initial charges against the men were dismissed, but they were eventually tried and convicted on charges ranging from first degree murder to voluntary manslaughter,” it added, noting that on appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that additional evidence should have been presented at Slatten’s trial.
“Prosecutors recently disclosed — more than 10 years after the incident — that the lead Iraqi investigator, who prosecutors relied heavily on to verify that there were no insurgent victims and to collect evidence, may have had ties to insurgent groups himself,” the White House added in explaining the President’s pardon.
The post Ilhan Omar Lashes Out At Trump’s Pardon Of Blackwater Guards Who Were Allegedly Ambushed By Insurgents — White House Said Lead Iraqi Investigator May Have Ties With Insurgents Himself appeared first on The Scoop.
Source: The Scoop