WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump confirmed Friday he is considering pardons for several military servicemen accused or convicted of war crimes, in what critics say would be an abuse of the powers afforded him under the US Constitution.
The New York Times reported, quoting administration officials, that Trump envisaged making the controversial pardons during the Memorial Day weekend when Americans honor those who died while serving in the military.
Reportedly among those being considered is Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL accused of shooting unarmed civilians and stabbing a teenage captive to death, who is due to stand trial starting next week.
Trump is also said to be eyeing a pardon for Matt Golsteyn, an ex-member of the elite US Army Green Berets, charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of an alleged Taliban bomb-maker in 2010.
Three Marines, arrested after video footage showed them urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in 2011, are also reportedly under consideration for a pardon, as well as a former Blackwater employee convicted of killing a teenaged Iraqi civilian in 2007.
“We’re looking at a lot of different pardons for a lot of different people,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Friday when asking why he was considering pardoning war criminals.
“Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long, you know. We teach them how to be great fighters and when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly. So we’re going to take a look at it,” Trump added.
Trump confirmed he was considering two or three cases that were “a little bit controversial,” adding that he may let trials of these people proceed and then decide afterward.
“I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t made any decisions,” he said.
Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis was among those who came out strongly against Trump’s reported plans.
“I commanded several of the servicemen Trump may pardon,” the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander wrote Wednesday in Time magazine. “Letting them off will undermine the military.”
This type of pardon, he argued, “strengthens enemy propaganda, as they will correctly say that we do not hold ourselves accountable for our own standards,” and “spurs our enemies on to even more barbaric behavior.”
Such pardons would be “disgusting,” warned Democratic presidential hopeful and Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg.
It would be “an affront to the idea of good order and discipline and to the idea of the rule of law, the very thing we believe we’re putting our lives on the line to defend,” said Buttigieg, who served as a naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan in 2014.
Two policemen gunned down in Karachi’s Orangi Town
KARACHI: Two policemen were killed when unidentified assailants opened fire at them in Karachi’s Orangi Town today, rescue sources said.
The firing incident took place at around 8am when both the police personnel were on their way to report for duty. Four armed men on two motorbikes opened fire and killed the personnel.
Upon being informed of the incident, a police team reached the site and cordoned it off to collect evidence. The bodies were shifted to a nearby medical facility for medico legal formalities.
Funeral prayers of 2 policemen, martyred in early morning attack in Orangi Town, Mominabad area, offered in Garden Headquarters today. IG Sindh, Karachi Police Chief and other high officials of Rangers and Police, as well as Sindh govt representatives also attended prayers. pic.twitter.com/r9ay6ETSVT
— KPOmediaCell (@kpomediacell) June 17, 2019
The killed policemen, posted in Mominabad, were identified as Sepoy Allahdita and Sepoy Ahmed Ali.
Taking notice of the shooting incident, Additional Inspector General Amir Sheikh sought a report from the SSP West in this regard.
Police officer stabbed ahead of G20 summit in Japan
TOKYO: Japanese police Monday arrested a man suspected of stabbing a police officer in the chest and stealing his gun near Osaka, just days before world leaders fly into the city for a G20 summit.
The 33-year-old suspect, who denies the charges, was in possession of an ID document showing he was mentally disabled, an Osaka regional police detective said.
The police officer, 22, is still in a coma, the detective added. His gun was found later with one bullet missing.
The incident, a rare case of violent crime in Japan, hit national headlines due to the proximity of the attack to the G20, which will be held in the western city on June 28 and 29.
“We have not yet studied what impact this will have on the G20 security plan,” Takahisa Ishida, chief of the Osaka police, told local media.
US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be among the leaders jetting in for the summit, with tens of thousands of aides in tow.
More than 25,000 police officers will reportedly be mobilised to provide security in Osaka during the summit meetings.
“We will do our best on security measures ahead of the G20 next week,” top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters Monday when asked about the incident.
A recent meeting of G20 finance ministers in the western city of Fukuoka was held under extremely high security, with areas around the meeting in total lockdown.
PFUJ condemns brutal murder of Hyderabad journalist Ilyas Warsi
KARACHI: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President G.M. Jamali has strongly condemned the brutal murder of senior journalist Ilyas Warsi in Hyderabad here today.
Warsi, who was affiliated to the Sindhi daily Kawish newspaper, was found dead in his apartment adjacent to Al-Raheem Shopping Centre in Hyderabad.
According to a family source, Warsi had left for his home from Hyderabad Press Club at around 6 PM. Warsi’s son told the police that when he reached the apartment, it was locked from inside. He knocked at the door but there was no response upon which he called others and force opened the door where he found his father’s dead body.
“The journalist was murdered using an edge tool,” police said, adding that the killers and motive behind the murder remains unknown.
Warsi was former president of Hyderabad Press Club and had been affiliated with many national and international journalist unions.
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