A U.S. Marine, convicted in the murder of a trans woman, was pardoned by The Philippines on Monday.
U.S. Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton was granted “an absolute pardon” by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Pemberton was convicted of killing Jennifer Laude in 2014.
Karapatan, a human rights alliance in The Philippines, denounced the pardon.
“This is a hard slap on the LGBTQ+ community and a blatant affront to our national sovereignty,” the alliance said in a statement.
Duterte said Pemberton, 25, of New Bedford, Mass., had behaved behind bars and should be allowed the good character presumption. He came to the southeast Asian island chain on exercises as part of a visiting forces agreement.
Then 19, Pemberton, an anti-tank missile operator, met Laude, 26, in a nightclub outside Subic Bay. They went to a motel where there was a scuffle and Laude was found dead with a broken neck.
A Philippine government said Duterte’s pardon erases Pemberton’s original six to 12-year prison sentence, but does not reverse the conviction.
“He’s still a killer,” Harry Roque, Duterte spokesman, told the Guardian.
Karapatan declared Duterte’s decision as “mocking the Filipino people, who, through decades, have been violated by U.S. military intervention in the country.” A lawyer for the Laude family called the pardon “revolting.”