President Trump has granted a full pardon to former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted by a military court in 2009 for killing an Iraqi prisoner suspected of being part of al-Qaida. Behenna was initially sentenced to 25 years; he was released on parole in 2014.
Behenna, 35, was found guilty of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone for shooting Ali Mansur Mohamed in 2008. He said he acted in self-defense. When the White House announced his pardon, it also said a U.S. Army appellate court had “noted concern about how the trial court had handled Mr. Behenna’s claim of self-defense.”
Mansur was killed during questioning about a roadside explosion that had killed members of a platoon under Behenna’s command. The push to pardon Behenna, an Oklahoma native, was taken up by the most powerful politicians in his home state. Behenna’s family has also worked vigorously on his behalf.
With his record cleared, Behenna no longer faces the restrictions that would have come with being on parole through 2024. The White House statement about his pardon added, “Further, while serving his sentence, Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency.”