President Donald Trump’s decision to apologize to four Blackwater private security companies convicted of a massacre in Baghdad was angry with the families of victims in Iraq

“How are these criminals released after killing 17 innocent people?” 35-year-old Hussein Saheb Nasser told NBC News on Wednesday by phone from his Baghdad home, “On what basis was Trump dependent on releasing you? Let’s say I travel to America and kill 17 American citizens. Will they release me? “

Nasser’s younger brother, Mahdi Saheb Nasser, was 22 years old and was working as a taxi driver when he was killed along with other unarmed civilians in Nisur Square in Baghdad in September 2007

According to the Iraqi authorities, 17 people were killed The Justice Department stated that the total was 14

The deaths sparked international outrage and raised questions about the use of private security companies in war zones

In 2014, four former government contractors working for Blackwater Worldwide, a security firm founded by Erik Prince – an ally of Trump and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – were brought before a federal court in Washington in connection with the killings condemned

Nicholas Slatten was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole following his murder conviction, while Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of manslaughter and gun charges

Prosecutors said the Blackwater convoy launched an unprovoked attack using sniper fire, machine guns, and grenade launchers

Defense lawyers for the four veterans who were contractors for the State Department at the time of the murders argued that they did not return fire until after they were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents

Nasser, who attended the 2014 US trial, said his brother’s death broke his father’s heart

“Before he died he went crazy walking on the street and whenever he saw a young man he imagined he was Mahdi,” he said

The pardons have reduced American talk of human rights to mere “slogans,” he said, adding, “They prefer animals to humans, and then they talk about human rights, justice and humanity”

Jasem Mohammed Hashem, who was working as a police officer when he was shot in the head in the attack, was also disappointed with Trump’s decision to free the men who “happened to open fire on the citizens” “

“I consider the security company personnel to be a terrorist act as many civilians have been tortured and wounded,” said Hashem, 41, father of five, who was partially disabled and was forced to retire after the incident

Sarah Holewinski, director of Human Rights Watch in Washington, said Trump’s pardons are an insult to justice, “but it is also an insult to the victims”

“After years of waiting, victims finally saw justice when these men were sentenced,” she said in an email, “If these sentences are reversed with the stroke of a pen, who will trust the American judicial system again?”

Blackwater has been renamed and is part of the Constellis group of companies, a risk management company founded in 2010

American troops invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime. They left in 2011 but returned in 2014 after the Islamic State militant group overran large parts of the country

According to defense officials, more than 3000 soldiers in Iraq A withdrawal is planned for January


World News – USA – Victim families in Iraq angry about Trump’s Blackwater pardons