President Trump 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 Iraaq 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.
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.
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.”