The president of the United States, Donald Trump, on Friday pardoned two soldiers – one of them convicted – linked to war crimes in Afghanistan and restored the rank to a third party for events in Iraq, the White House said.
With his decision, Trump overrides the homicide charges against Clint Lorance, an Army officer who since 2013 served a 20-year prison sentence for ordering his men to shoot three Afghans, two of whom died.
As Lorance's attorneys revealed to CNN, Trump personally communicated forgiveness with a call in which Vice President Mike Pence also participated and told him to "enlist his uniform."RELATED
The charges against Mathew Golsteyn, another Army officer whose trial had to start in the coming weeks and who was accused of murdering and burning the body of an Afghan citizen in 2010 who he believed was a Taliban militant, are also overturned.
Finally, Trump ordered the restoration of the rank to Edward Gallagher, a Navy Seal that was demoted in July after being convicted of being photographed with the corpse of an enemy combatant in Iraq.
Gallagher, however, was acquitted of more serious crimes than was also charged as murder – of the same combatant with whom he was photographed – or of firing indiscriminately at civilians.
Trump had already been involved in the Gallagher case when, pending his trial, the president intervened to transfer him to a more comfortable detention center.
The three men faced their processes through military justice and, according to US media, the Pentagon had advised against Trump to forgive them for the risk of undermining the authority of the military institution.
"For more than 200 years, presidents have used their authority to offer second opportunities to individuals who deserved it, including those in uniform who have served our country," the White House said in a statement.
"When our soldiers fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight," Trump said in that statement. (EFE)