Ilhan Omar censures Trump's Blackwater pardons

TEHRAN, Dec. 27 (MNA) – US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has slammed Trump's pardoning the US security contractors convicted of the 2007 killing of 14 Iraqi civilians, including two children, in Baghdad.

Omar launched a furious attack on outgoing President Donald Trump's pardoning of four Blackwater security contractors convicted for the 2007 killing of at least 17 Iraqis. Fourteen of the dead were civilians, including two children. 

The men, pardoned by the president on 22 December, had been convicted of opening fire in Baghdad's crowded Nisour Square on 16 September 2007 in a bloody episode that caused an international scandal and heightened resentment of the American presence in Iraq. 

The shooting also left 17 Iraqis wounded, while perpetuating the image of US security contractors run amok.

Omar, the representative for Minnesota's fifth congressional district, called the decision a "disgrace to our country and to the rule of law".

"In 2007, four Blackwater contractors opened fire in a crowded intersection in Baghdad, murdering 14 Iraqi civilians," the Democratic politician wrote on Twitter. "This week, Donald Trump granted them unconditional pardons. This is a disgrace to our country and to the rule of law."

The four guards - Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard, and Nicholas Slatten - had been part of an armored convoy that opened fire indiscriminately with machine-guns, grenade launchers, and a sniper on a crowd of unarmed people in the square in the Iraqi capital, the Middle East Eye reported. 

Slough, Liberty, and Heard were convicted on multiple charges of voluntary and attempted manslaughter in 2014, while Slatten, who was the first to start shooting, was convicted of first-degree murder. Slattern was sentenced to life and the others to 30 years in prison each.

A White House statement accompanying the announcement of the presidential pardon said that the four men, former members of the military, "have a long history of service to the nation".

This is while Iraqis who survived an infamous massacre of unarmed civilians by American security guards in Baghdad have condemned Trump's decision to pardon the men as "unjust."

"My message to US President Trump is to not pardon or release the perpetrators, they are terrorists," Jasim Mohammed Al-Nasrawi, a police officer who was injured in the attack, told CNN over the phone from Baghdad.

"I am still not a hundred percent recovered from my head wound, which [was] sustained in the gunfire by Blackwater guards in 2007, and have not been completely compensated for the attack. I will not waive my right to this case, I am not giving up," he added.


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