President Duterte of the Philippines yesterday issued a pardon for US marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. A court sentenced Pemberton to 10 years jail in 2015 for the murder of trans woman Jennifer Laude.
Pemberton murdered Jennifer Laude in a motel room near a former US navy base northwest of Manila. Jennifer met him on a night out with a friend at a disco. She agreed to go to a ‘short-time’ motel with him. Staff later found her naked body. Pemberton claimed that he choked Jennifer when he discovered she was transgender. However, police found his fingerprints on one of three condoms and a condom wrapper left in the room.
Because of an accord governing procedures involving US military personnel, Pemberton spent his sentence in solitary confinement in a military camp.
President describes sentence as unfair
President Duterte earlier described the treatment of Pemberton as unfair.
“This is how I see it.
“So release him. Pardon.”
However, human rights group Karapatan described the pardon as “proof that the US continues to trump Philippine sovereignty to this day.”
The pardon was a “despicable and shameless mockery of justice and servility to US imperialist interests.”
Virginia Suarez, a lawyer for Jennifer’s family said the family felt devastated by the pardon.
“Justice for Jennifer Laude is justice for the entire Filipino people.”
LGBTIQ activists protested outside the Justice Department following the decision. They tied red ribbons to the gates and held up rainbow flags. They also carried signs condemning the military accord with the US.
Marine wants to apologise for murder of trans woman
Pemberton’s lawyer said he wanted to apologise to Jennifer Laude’s family. His conviction will mean a probable discharge from the Marines following his release.
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