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Soldiers Dad asking for Presidential Pardon...

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  • Soldiers Dad asking for Presidential Pardon...

    Soldier’s dad asking president for pardon

    By John Miller - The Associated Press
    Posted : Wednesday Nov 26, 2008 7:02:50 EST

    BOISE, Idaho — The father of an Idaho soldier convicted earlier this year of unpremeditated murder while on a mission in Iraq is hoping to secure his son’s freedom with a pardon from President George W. Bush.
    Sgt. Evan Vela, a 24-year-old Army sniper, was convicted in February and sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian who stumbled upon him and five other soldiers sleeping on May 11, 2007. Vela was also convicted of planting an AK-47 on the dead man’s body and of lying to military investigators.
    His father, Curtis Carnahan of Parker, Idaho, insists his son was unfairly treated by military courts in Baghdad and is asking a former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, John D. Rood, to deliver a bundle of supportive letters to the president by Christmas. Rood has backed Vela’s efforts to secure clemency in the past, Carnahan said.
    “If President Bush has an opportunity to see what took place with Evan and the tactics used against him by the government, he’ll see the wrongness of it all,” Carnahan told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
    Vela is currently serving his prison sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, Kan.
    Efforts by The AP to reach Rood in Florida weren’t immediately successful.
    “We have gathered many letters asking President Bush to grant Evan a presidential pardon before he leaves office,” Carnahan wrote to Rood. “I am asking if you could personally deliver these letters to the president, much as you did for us last May with the summary letter ... I am fully aware of the magnitude of what I am asking of you, but quite frankly, sir, you are our only, best hope at a pardon.”
    In his letter, published in the Rexburg Standard Journal newspaper in eastern Idaho, Carnahan wrote that the last 16 months had been a “trying time” for Vela, his wife, and two young children. Members of his family moved to Kansas, but Vela recently was put in solitary confinement as punishment for picking up his son and daughter during a visit, Carnahan said.
    In two terms, Bush has granted 171 pardons and eight commutations, including 14 people granted clemency on Monday.
    During his trial in February, Vela and several other Army snipers with his unit testified they were confused and exhausted after more than two days of trekking in high temperatures through the rough terrain near Iskandariyah, a mostly Sunni Arab city 30 miles south of Baghdad. A tearful Vela told the military court in Baghdad he couldn’t remember firing the pistol that killed Genei Nasir al-Janabi.
    Prosecutors said the case was a clear-cut instance of a soldier lying to cover up the slaying of an unarmed man.
    Vela maintained he was ordered to shoot al-Janabi, something his father hopes will convince the president to take an interest in the case.
    “I have to take the chance,” Carnahan said.
    Earlier this year, Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson, both Idaho Republicans, also urged military officials to grant Vela clemency, arguing he was simply following the orders of his superiors.

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

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