December 22, Trump used the presidential pardon to pardon 15 people, including four Blackwater contractor who killed Iraqi civilians.
The pardon immediately aroused the anger of Iraqis. In an interview with The Guardian, some Iraqi residents described Trump’s statement as “a cruel slap in the face” and an insult, and asked Trump to revoked the pardon immediately.
Relatives and friends of Iraqi victims said that justice does not exist, and in the eyes of Americans, Iraqi blood is “cheaper than water”.
In addition to the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government also said that it would urge the United States to reconsider this decision through diplomatic channels. After Biden comes to power, consideration will be given to persuading Biden to overturn Trump’s pardon.
According to the British Guardian on December 23, Trump’s pardon on the 22nd aroused anger in Iraq. In an interview with The Guardian, residents of Baghdad, Iraq described Trump’s pardon statement as “a cruel slap in the face” and an insult.
Adil al-Qazzali’s father, Ali, was killed in the attack, and Gazali said he was shocked by the news. Qazali said: “Justice does not exist. I ask the American people to stand with us.
I lost my father and many innocent women and children died. I ask the U.S. government to reconsider this pardon, because this decision is damaging the reputation of the U.S. courts. Trump has no right to pardon the murderers of innocent people.”
Ahmed, the son of a 20-year-old medical student at that time, also died in the square that day. A classmate of Ahmed said that Trump’s pardon is not surprising to Iraqis, saying: “The Americans have never treated us Iraqis equally. In their eyes, our blood is cheaper than water, and our demands for justice and responsibility are only ‘unpleasant’.”
Dr. Haidar al-Barzanji, an Iraqi researcher and scholar, said: “Trump has no right to pardon these criminals on behalf of the victims’ families. This is a violation of human rights and the law. According to Iraqi law, victims can only be pardoned if their families decide to pardon them. I encourage the families of the victims to file complaints against Trump himself after the Biden administration took office.”
Iraqi human rights activist Haidar Salman on Twitter: “I remember my professor of hematology in the Department of Pathology at Baghdad University, his two children and his wife were killed in Nisul Square, but he survived and he lost almost all his reason, but he continued to live in order to condemn the murderer.”
Salman said that the person who released these criminals was more like a criminal. The Iraqi government should ask the Biden administration to revoke these amnesties.
The general public and the families of the victims were angry, and the Guardian reported that the Iraqi government decided to persuade the Biden government to cancel the pardon. “This will be the first thing we discuss with him (Biden),” said an aide to Prime Minister Mustafa Kadimi.
According to the New York Times on December 23, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the 23rd that the White House ignored the seriousness of the crimes committed by pardoned people, which contradicted the Trump administration’s declared commitment to human rights, justice and the rule of law.
The statement also said that the pardon did not take into account “the dignity of the victims and the feelings and rights of their relatives”. The Iraqi government will urge the United States to reconsider this decision through diplomatic channels.
In 2007, the convoy of the American Black Water Security Company was attacked in the center of Baghdad, and four contractors of the company, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Hilde and Nicholas Slaterton, immediately opened fire on Iraqi civilians. The incident resulted in the death of 14 Iraqi civilians, including a 9-year-old child, and many were injured.
In 2014, Slough, Liberty and Hilde were convicted of multiple intentional homicides, while Slaterton, the first to shoot, was convicted of first-degree murder.
Slateton was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the others were sentenced to 30 years each. In a memo submitted after the judgment, the U.S. government said at the time: “No victim is a rebel, and no victim poses any threat to the convoy.”
The White House website issued a press release on December 22, announcing that Trump pardoned 15 people on the same day, including four Blackwater contractor who killed Iraqi civilians.