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USA: Four Blackwater contractors jailed for massacre of Iraq civilians pardoned by Donald Trump

"Trump pardons Blackwater contractors jailed for massacre of Iraq civilians", 23 December 2020.

Donald Trump has pardoned four security guards from the private military firm Blackwater who were serving jail sentences for killing 14 civilians including two children in Baghdad in 2007, a massacre that sparked an international outcry over the use of mercenaries in war.

The four guards – Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten – were part of an armoured convoy that opened fire indiscriminately with machine-guns, grenade launchers and a sniper on a crowd of unarmed people in a square in the Iraqi capital.

The Nisour Square massacre was one of the lowest episodes of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

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...

After news of the pardon emerged on Tuesday night, Brian Heberlig, a lawyer for one of the four pardoned Blackwater defendants, said: “Paul Slough and his colleagues didn’t deserve to spend one minute in prison. I am overwhelmed with emotion at this fantastic news.”

The pardons are one of several the US president has granted to American service personnel and contractors accused or convicted of crimes against non-combatants and civilians in war zones...

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