The president of United States, Donald trump, aligned with tradition and pardon 15 convicts shortly before leaving the White House on January 20, including five private security guards who committed a massacre in Iraq, two of his allies who lied for him to the FBI, two corrupt former legislators and two border agents who shot and wounded a suspected marijuana smuggler.
The pardons that generated the most repudiation were those received by former employees of the security company Blackwater, the company that became synonymous with modern mercenaries and human rights violations during the years of US occupation in Iraq.
Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard had been convicted of their role in the massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square in 2007, an episode that exposed the power that private security companies had gained and their immunity to operate in the occupied country.
The White House explained in a statement that Trump pardoned them because “they have a long history of service to the nation“He detailed their past as members of the US Armed Forces and accused the Iraqi principal investigator, who provided evidence for the trial on US soil, of alleged links with radical combatants. However, these pardons were quickly repudiated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and by the victims themselves and investigators of the case in Iraq.
The outgoing president also used his power to pardon two men who recognized before the Justice having lied to the FBI in the research that sought, without success, to determine if in 2016 there was a plot between the Russian government and the Trump campaign to help you in your electoral victory.
One of them is the former electoral adviser George Papadopoulos, who had been convicted after accepting that he had learned that Russian agents claimed to have incriminating information on the then Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary clinton, when he was already working for the Republican campaign. The other person who lied in the FBI investigation that harassed Trump for months was the Dutch lawyer and political relative of a well-known Russian millionaire, Alex van der Zwaan.
Two other beneficiaries of the presidential pardons less than a month after the transfer of power were the former Republican legislators Duncan hunter and Chris collins. The first pleaded guilty last year to “misuse” of funds from his last election campaign, while the second, the first congressman to publicly support Trump’s candidacy in 2016, also acknowledged in 2019 having committed fraud.
US Border Patrol agents were also pardoned. Ignacio Ramos and Jos Compean, who had been convicted of shooting and wounding an unarmed person they believe was a marijuana trafficker in the town of El Paso, Texas, in 2005. Both had already received a commutation of their sentences signed by the former president George W. Bush before the end of his term.
The remaining beneficiaries include a dentist convicted of health insurance fraud because he made false bills, a man sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana in possession of a firearm, and a local Utah official serving a sentence for possession. of drugs with the intention of selling, published the Tlam news agency.