Iraqi lawmaker Gatah al-Rekabi on Tuesday blasted U.S. President Donald Trump’s pardoning four Blackwater guards convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians in 2007 as “blatant violation of human rights.”
“The U.S. occupation has left tragedies in most areas of the country, and what happened in the Blackwater massacre in Baghdad and the recent pardon by President Donald Trump of the company’s perpetrators was a blatant violation of human rights from a country that claims democracy,” al-Rekabi, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary security committee, told Baghdad Today News Agency.
On Sept. 6, 2007, four guards of the Blackwater security contractor company, who were hired to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq, carried out the massacre in al-Nisour Square in western Baghdad, killing 14 Iraqi civilians including two children and sparking international outcry.
On Dec. 22, 2020, the White House announced that Trump pardoned the four Blackwater guards, who were serving lengthy prison terms after conviction of the massacre.
A day later, the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the U.S. to reconsider Trump’s decision, which it said “did not take into account the seriousness of the crime committed, and unfortunately ignores the dignity of the victims as well as the feelings and rights of their families.”
Al-Rekabi also blamed the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003, which “has spilled a lot of blood among Iraqis and caused massive devastation to the country.”
“If there were accurate statistics about the damage caused by the U.S. occupation of Iraq after 2003, the world would be surprised, as we believe that it has reached hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said.
“The foolish actions of U.S. soldiers were everywhere, such as opening fire on cars, shops, and civilian buildings, which led to human casualties, some of them are still suffering,” al-Rekabi noted.
He said that the Iraqi government has formed a committee to compensate the victims, while underlining the need to form other committees to file lawsuits to demand compensation from the United States.