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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces _ the military’s highest appeals court _ has set oral arguments for April 23 in the case of 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted in 2009 of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.
The arguments will be held at the court’s headquarters in Washington, DC.
Behenna, an Edmond native now serving a 15-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was convicted of killing an Iraqi man that Behenna suspected of terrorism. Behenna was questioning the man when he shot him and claimed self-defense at his trial.
The court has agreed to consider whether prosecutors in the 2009 court-martial withheld evidence that might have helped Behenna’s case and whether the judge gave erroneous instructions to the jury on Behenna’s claim of self-defense.
MILITARY PROSECUTORS WITHHOLD EVIDENCE; ARMY RANGER GOES TO PRISON FOR 25 YEARS FOR SHOOTING AL QAEDA OPERATIVE
“On March 20th, 2009, Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Ali Mansur, a known Al Qaeda operative while serving in Iraq. Mansur was known to be a member of an Al Qaeda cell operating in the lieutenant’s area of operation and Army intelligence believed he organized an attack on Lt. Behenna’s platoon in April 2008 which killed two U.S. soldiers and injured two more. Army intelligence ordered the release of Mansur and Lt. Behenna was ordered to return the terrorist to his home.
“During the return of Mansur, Lt. Behenna again questioned the Al Qaeda member for information about other members of the terrorist cell, and financial supporters. During this interrogation, Mansur attacked Lt. Behenna, who killed the terrorist in self-defense. The government subsequently prosecuted Lt. Behenna for premeditated murder.
“Not only is this a miscarriage of justice on the behalf of Lt. Behenna, who was acting to prevent further loss of life in his platoon, it is demoralizing to the U.S. troops who continue to fight on behalf of the freedom and security of our nation. Whether it is U.S. border patrol agents, members of the armed forces, or FBI agents, no individual who is serving on the frontlines in the War on Terror should be so blatantly mistreated.
“We urgently need your help to correct this terrible wrong against a loyal and faithful soldier. Please contact your congressman and ask them to intervene on behalf of 1LT Behenna. GO HERE for a brief recap of the relevant aspects of Lt. Behenna’s case.
“1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was an excellent officer. He received his call to serve his country while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. He is from a family of public servants, his mother being an Assistant United States Attorney and his father a retired Special Agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He has served the Army and the United States with honor and dignity. To sacrifice the life of this Oklahoma soldier over the death of a known terrorist, is a breech of faith with all who are serving our country. Please stand with us and demand justice for this American hero!!! He fought for you; now please fight for him! Click HERE to help! THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP MICHAEL