On Monday, President Donald Trump issued a full pardon for Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, the U.S. soldier convicted of killing an Iraqi prisoner in 2009.
Behenna was originally sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, the Army Clemency and Parole Board reduced his sentence to 15 years and then paroled him as soon as he was eligible.
“Behenna acknowledged during his trial that instead of taking the prisoner home as he was ordered, he took the man to a railroad culvert, stripped him, and then questioned him at gunpoint about a roadside bombing that had killed two members of Behenna’s platoon,” the Washington Times reported.
Behenna shot and killed an al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq during the interrogation after he moved toward him. The soldier claimed he thought the terrorist was going to try to take his firearm.
Many Oklahoma officials supported Behenna's claim of self-defense and also argued he was deserving of a pardon because he was a model prisoner while serving his sentence.
“Mr. Behenna’s case has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public. Thirty-seven generals and admirals, along with former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, signed a brief in support of Mr. Behenna’s self-defense claim,” the White House said in a statement.
The statement continued: “Numerous members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, Oklahoma’s then-Governor Mary Fallin, and current Attorney General Mike Hunter have also expressed support for Mr. Behenna.”
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