Michael Behenna: Trump pardons US soldier who stripped and killed Iraqi prisoner

Michael Behenna was sentenced to 25 years for killing suspected al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 07 May 2019 09:45 BST
Michael Behenna: Trump pardons US soldier who stripped and killed Iraqi prisoner

Donald Trump has pardoned a former US soldier who stripped an Iraqi prisoner naked and then shot him twice.

The US president signed an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, for former US Army Lieutenant Michael Behenna, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Behenna, a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years for killing Ali Mansur Mohamed, a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, in Iraq in 2008.

Behenna, who stripped Mansur and then questioned him at gunpoint before shooting him, claimed he was acting in self-defence.

His sentence was subsequently reduced to 15 years and he was paroled in 2014, five years into his term.

Behenna’s case attracted broad support from the military, elected officials in his native Oklahoma and the public, Ms Sanders said.

She said he was a model prisoner while serving his sentence and “entirely deserving” of the pardon.

Behenna’s soldiers captured Mansur and he was questioned by military intelligence in connection with a roadside bomb that killed two members of the platoon on 21 April, 2008.

Mansur was released due to insufficient evidence to hold him and Behenna was tasked with returning him to his village.

But during the operation, Behenna stopped the convoy and took the man to a railroad culvert, stripped him and then questioned him at gunpoint about the roadside bombing.

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Behenna claimed Mansur lunged for his weapon and he shot him in self defence, according to testimony from his 2009 trial.

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