Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Home Europe Duterte pardons US marine over transgender killing

Duterte pardons US marine over transgender killing

US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton (C) is escorted by U.S. security officers into a court in Olongapo city, north of Manila December 1, 2015.Image copyright

Image caption

Joseph Pemberton (C) was tried for murder in 2015

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn criticism from rights groups after pardoning a US marine convicted of killing a transgender woman.

Mr Duterte issued on the pardon on Monday to Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who has been in prison since 2014 for the murder of Jennifer Laude.

Pemberton has served just over half of a 10-year sentence for the murder.

Virginia Suarez, a lawyer for Laude’s family, called the decision a “mockery” of the country’s justice system.

The pardon was announced by Mr Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque. “The president has erased the remaining punishment against Pemberton,” said. “He can now go home because of the pardon.”

The former US marine had been granted early release last week by a local court, for good behaviour, but the decision was being held pending an appeal by lawyers for Laude’s family. That process was negated by the pardon.

There was no immediate announcement of a release date.

Lawyer Virginia Suarez said in a statement: “This is another injustice, not only to Jennifer Laude and family but a grave injustice to the Philippine people. This is a travesty of Philippine sovereignty and democracy,” Ms Suarez said in a statement.

Pemberton met Laude in a bar in Olangapo in October 2014, while he was on leave after joint US-Philippines military exercises. Police said the pair checked into a hotel, where she was found dead the following day, slumped over the toilet, apparently strangled.

The marine testified in court that he had attacked Laude after he realised she was transgender, but claimed she was still alive when he left the room.

Image copyright

Image caption

Rights groups objected to the early release of the former Marine

UP Babaylan, a local LGBT rights group, said in a statement co-signed by other rights groups that Mr Duterte’s decision sent a “loud and clear message that a Filipino trans woman’s life does not matter”.

The hastag #JusticeForJenniferLaude trended globally on Twitter on Monday. In one of the most shared tweets, Philippine human rights activist Chel Diokno called the pardon an “affront to Jennifer Laude and her family” and a “big step backward for justice in this case and in our country”.

Bahaghari, another Filippino LGBT rights group, tweeted: “For as long as the US maintains hegemony over our military, economy, and politics, there will be no #JusticeForJennifer and for the Filipino LGBTQ+.”

The murder case strained ties between the US and the Philippines, a former US colony where the Americans retain a significant military presence. Under the terms of a defence pact between the two countries, the US retained custody of the Pemberton throughout his trial and incarceration, meaning he served his sentence on a US military base rather than a Philippine prison.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

In Biden, China Sees an ‘Old Friend’ and Possible Foe

Some in China believe Biden, if elected, might do damage to the nation’s ambitions, taking a harder line on human rights and rallying allies to stand up to Beijing.Joseph R. Biden Jr., then the vice president, with Xi Jinping, now China’s leader, and their translators outside the Chinese city of Chengdu in 2011.Credit...Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse…

As US neared 200,000 Covid deaths, Trump claimed it “affects virtually nobody”

Instead of taking a moment to grieve the nearly 200,000 Americans who were confirmed to have died from Covid-19 as of his rally Monday evening in Swanton, Ohio, President Donald Trump erased them. “It affects virtually nobody,” Trump said of the coronavirus. “It’s an amazing thing.” By Tuesday morning, the disease had officially had killed…

The U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 200,000, and it’s just ‘the tip of the iceberg’

The coronavirus, which was first confirmed in the United States about eight months ago, has killed more than 200,000 people across the country as of Tuesday as U.S. officials rush to approve and manufacture a vaccine.  The U.S. had reported at least 200,005 confirmed Covid-19 deaths as of mid-day Tuesday, more than any other country…

Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as Trump’s favorite

(CNN)Judge Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as President Donald Trump's overwhelming favorite to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to several people familiar with the deliberations, who say the President's view was solidified during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Monday.Trump has not finalized his decision, and with days…