The Philippines deported a U.S. Marine convicted in the killing of a trans woman.

Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton left the Southeast Asia country on Sunday — never to return again. Pemberton, 25, was convicted in the 2014 killing of Filipina Jennifer Laude. He was pardoned by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last week, allowing for his deportation.

Karapatan, a human rights alliance in The Philippines, denounced the pardon as a “hard slap on the LGBTQ+ community.” In a statement released Monday, Karapatan spokesperson Cristina Palabay blasted the Philippine justice system.

“As Pemberton flew back to the United States yesterday, his freedom is a reminder that justice is broken and impunity is alive in the country, especially under this fascist Duterte regime. Criminals and murderers get to walk away free, while activists and human rights defenders are being persecuted with false charges and imprisonment even in the middle of a pandemic,” the Karapatan officer said. 

Laude, 26, was found in a motel room slumped over a toilet with a broken neck. Pemberton, an anti-tank missile operator from New Bedford, Mass., was convicted of homicide in 2015. Prosecutors had sought a murder conviction, but could not prove cruelty and treachery. 

Through his attorney, Pemberton said he was “extremely grateful” to Duterte for the pardon and expressed his “most sincere sympathy” to the Laude family.

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