Philippine President Duterte pardons US marine convicted of killing transgender woman

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has granted an absolute pardon to a US marine convicted of killing a transgender woman, officials said on Monday (Sep 7), drawing condemnation from rights groups.

Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton has been in prison since the October 2014 killing of Jennifer Laude, whom he met at a bar while on a break from military exercises in the northern city of Olongapo.

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A local court ruled last week that Pemberton qualified for early release due to good behaviour, but was still being held due to an appeal.

Duterte's pardon clears all legal obstacles to his release, despite him serving just half his 10-year sentence.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque, a lawyer who represented the Laude family during the trial, confirmed Duterte's decision.

"The president has erased the remaining punishment against Pemberton … He can now go home because of the pardon," Roque told reporters.

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The Laude family lawyer condemned the decision, calling it a "mockery" of the country's justice system.

"This is another injustice – not only to Jennifer Laude and family but a grave injustice to the Filipino people," Virginia Suarez said in a statement.

"This is a travesty of Philippine sovereignty and democracy."

The pardon has renewed antRead More – Source