President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned four men who participated in a massacre of Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square in Baghdad in 2007. They were employed by Blackwater Security Consulting, a private military organization (mercenaries) which is owned by Erik Prince, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s younger brother.
Seventeen people were killed and 20 more were injured.
Nicholas Slatten was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard received 10-15 year sentences for manslaughter and weapons charges.
Hassan Jaber Salman, one of the survivors, recalled the attack in an interview with CNN after Trump pardoned the four convicted murderers and war criminals.
“I remember seeing a woman and son. Their car was in front. It was on fire. She was crying out until the burned to death with her son. There was so much gunfire. It wasn’t normal. Bodies just fell in the street. I wasn’t wounded yet. I moved my car to get away and I was shot multiple times,” Salman, an attorney, told correspondent Arwa Damon.
“It was a sunny day in Baghdad, one where the population could almost pretend their country wasn’t being ravaged by violence. But those illusions shatter quickly in Iraq,” Salman continued. “In an instant, a busy Baghdad roundabout on Nisour Square turned into a street of blood.”
The youngest victim was just nine years old, Salman said, and was “shot in the head in the backseat of his car as his father helplessly watched him die.”
Blackwater claimed at the time that its personnel had come under fire and had to defend themselves.
But following the attack in 2007, Salman was interviewed from a hospital bed, where he recounted the horror he had witnessed – and it completely contradicted Blackwater’s cover story.
“No one fired at Blackwater. They were not attacked by gunmen. They were not targeted,” said Salman.
As for how he feels about Trump’s shameful clemency for his would-be killers, Salman said that Trump will have to answer for his sins, in this life or the next one.
“I say to him, your decision? You are going to have to face God on this. You did not fulfill justice,” Salman added. “You pardoned the criminals and the killers. The blood of the dead and wounded is on your hands.”
Salman added that Trump’s inexplicable clemency is “abusive to the rights of the victims,” and that “the American justice system is known to be a fair system, but it turns out that the American justice system is not fair.”
Watch below, courtesy of CNN:
What's Your Reaction?
Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.