As you know from our last email Michael lost his appeal with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) by a single vote (3-2). The court agreed that favorable testimony had been withheld by the prosecutors and that the trial judge’s instructions were in fact erroneous; but the majority ruled that none of that mattered because Michael had lost his right to self-defense the moment he pointed a gun at Ali Mansur. It is important to note that the government’s argument in the appeal was not that Michael had murdered Mansur (they have all but conceded that was not the case), but rather than he had no right to defend himself in a war zone once he pointed a gun at Mansur (regardless of how many American soldiers Mansur had killed as the leader of an al-Qaida cell.)
We have one more chance in the court system and that is to take Michael’s case to the United States Supreme Court. We know that the odds are long, but after consulting with lawyer’s who have tried cases in this venue we have taken their advice to pursue a petition to have Michael’s case heard before the highest court in the land. You can help support this effort by making a donation to Michael’s legal fund at http://www.defendmichael.com.
We are also moving forward to seek a Presidential Pardon or at least a commutation of Michael’s prison sentence to time served. Michael’s case should not be a political football and we feel strongly that liberals and conservatives should support a Soldier who is incarcerated for defending himself in a war zone. We ask each of you write to both President Obama and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the addresses below and request that they look into Michael’s case and consider giving him the homecoming he never received. Also consider sending letters to your Senators and Congressman at the same time. Some topics that could be included in your letters include:
- Michael’s exemplary military service;
- The fact that all five Justices on the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) determined the jury panel wholly rejected the prosecutors theory that Michael executed Mansur;
- Although the prosecutors claimed at trial that Michael’s testimony about what happened in the culvert was impossible, the appellate courts have opined Michael defended himself just as he testified, but that Michael legally lost his right to defend himself because of an unauthorized field interrogation;
- The American Soldier is sent to the battlefield to defend this country. Should our Soldiers ever lose their fight to defend themselves when attacked by an al-Qaida operative?
- Michael is not a threat to anyone and has paid a significant price by serving 3 ½ years of his life in Ft. Leavenworth prison.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Michael has awoken in the same prison cell for over three and a half years. Yet he awakens each day with a grateful heart and a smile on his face. Despite all of the setbacks in his fight for freedom his spirit is unbroken. Michael knows firsthand that freedom is not free as he witnessed two of his own soldiers die on the battlefield. For those of us who have never had their freedom taken away it is too easily taken for granted. From behind prison walls Michael knows the value of freedom and it remains his most cherished hope that someday soon he will have his freedom back.
God bless you and may God bless this country,
Scott & Vicki Behenna