US President Donald Trump intervened in three military justice cases involving war-crimes accusations Friday, issuing at least two pardons that will prevent the Pentagon from pursuing future charges against the individuals involved, according to one of their lawyers and a US official.
Golsteyn was charged with premeditated murder in the 2010 death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker.
Mr. Trump also ordered a promotion for a decorated Navy SEAL convicted of posing with a dead Islamic State captive in Iraq.
"Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard and long", he said in May.
"We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!"
"There are no words to adequately express how grateful my family and I are to our president, Donald J. Trump, for his intervention and decision", Eddie Gallagher said in a public statement Friday night. Mathew Golsteyn, whose trial has yet to begin.
The pardon of former Green Beret Maj. Golsteyn has argued that the Afghan was a legal target because of his behavior at the time of the shooting.
Trump signed an executive grant of clemency for Army First Lt. Clint Lorance, who has served six years of a 19-year prison sentence for a 2013 second-degree murder conviction for ordering soldiers to fire on three Afghan men who were riding toward the service members on a motorcycle. That had led to his rank being reduced.
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Pleading anonymity, he said their prisoners were kept in waiting by telling them different reasons about delay in flight. He claimed they had learnt that U.S. officials suddenly changed their mind and refused to release their prisoners.
His punishment included a reduction in rank from chief petty officer to 1st class petty officer, which would have cost him about $200,000 in retirement funds.
In July, a military jury acquitted him of murdering a captured Islamic State fighter by stabbing the wounded prisoner in the neck, but it convicted him of illegally posing with the detainee's corpse.
The commander-in-chief granted Army Maj. The trial was scheduled for next year. "We have lived in constant fear of this runaway prosecution", Golsteyn was quoted saying in the statement. "We would also like to thank the American people for their unwavering support during this very hard time for my family and I - we can never thank you enough". "With time, I hope to regain my huge pride in having served in our military", Golsteyn said.
A Pentagon spokesperson said the Department of Defence has confidence in the military justice system.
The American Civil Liberties Union criticised the president's action.
Trump had tweeted on October 12 that he was reviewing Golsteyn's case.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had met with the president and discussed the cases.
In May, Trump talked about how he was considering pardons for USA troops charged with war crimes, a move he acknowledged would be controversial but that he said was justified because they had been treated "unfairly". Abdication of moral responsibility. Bad message. Bad precedent. "Risk to us. #Leadership".