Trump grants pardon to 2 US soldiers, clears promotion for 1; all accused of war crimes

US President Donald Trump, who is also the commander-in-chief of the US armed forces granted pardon to two army officers


Donald Trump, the commander-in-chief of the US Armed forces has granted pardon to two former army officers. He has also restored rank of a decorated Navy SEAL commando, who was demoted after being convicted for posing with a dead Islamic State captive, the White House said in a statement on Friday.

One of the former army officer pardoned, waited trial which was set to take place next year. Former US Army commando Major Mathew Golsteyn was accused of killing a suspected Afghan bomb-maker in 2010 and was set to stand for the trial, next year.

Former lieutenant Clint Lorance was convicted and sentenced to 19 years prison term, for ordering his men to fire at three unarmed Afghans, two of whom died, while he was stationed in the Central Asian nation in 2012. When pardoned, he had already served six years in prison.

Along with the two, Trump also restored the rank of Navy SEAL commando Edward Gallagher, that was withheld, after he was convicted for posing with a dead ISIS captive in Iraq, Reuters reported. He was also accused of murdering the teen ISIS fighter with whose corpse he later posed, but was not convicted.

In 2010, he was investigated over shooting a little Afghan girl, but no charges were filed against him. In 2014, Edward was accused of running over a Navy police officer, but again not convicted. Last month, Adm Mike Gilday, the US Chief of Naval Staff declined clemency requests for Gallagher and upheld the judgement of military jury.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, in a statement, said, "For more than 200 years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country". "The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted," she wrote.

In May, this year, the US President said, "Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard and long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and when they fight, sometimes they get really treated very unfairly".

Meanwhile, some current and former Pentagon officials have spoken against the clemency, as it would undermine the military justice system and send a message that battlefield atrocities will be tolerated.