US President Donald Trump’s issuance of pardons for security guards convicted of killing at least 14 Iraqi civilians in a 2007 Baghdad massacre has caused international uproar, including in Iraq where people expressed outrage and sadness.
Trump issued pardons for the four Blackwater security contractors who were convicted of murder and manslaughter six years ago.
“The infamous Blackwater company killed Iraqi citizens at Nisour Square. Today we heard they were released upon personal order by President Trump, as if they don’t care for the spilled Iraqi blood,” said Saleh Abed, a Baghdad resident.
“I knew we’d never get justice,” Fares Saadi, the Iraqi police officer who led the investigations, told AFP news agency.
A former classmate of a medical student killed at the time called the pardons “an utter outrage” but said they were not surprising.
“As far as they are concerned, our blood is cheaper than water and our demands for justice and accountability are merely a nuisance,” the classmate said, requesting anonymity.
The United Nations’ human rights office said on Wednesday that it was “deeply concerned” by the pardons, which it said “contributes to impunity and has the effect of emboldening others to commit such crimes in the future”.
Retired US general Mark Hertling, who served in Iraq, called the pardon “egregious and disgusting”.