Pardoned vet petitions for release of imprisoned comrade

Pardoned vet petitions for release of imprisoned comrade

Pardoned vet petitions for release of imprisoned comrade

An Army veteran who received a presidential pardon less than a year ago now is actively pursuing the release of a fellow soldier he claims is innocent of charges that landed that soldier in prison for life.

Former Army sergeant and Blackwater contractor Nicholas Slatten was once part of Raven 23, a tactical support team that was tasked with protecting a U.S. diplomat in Baghdad, Iraq. Following the deadly Nisour Square incident on September 16, 2007, a flurry of false accusations by the U.S. government against Slatten and his fellow team members would abound.

Although multiple attempts to convict Slatten of criminal charges failed in subsequent years, he was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2019. But Slatten was pardoned by former President Donald Trump in December 2020.

Now a free man, Slatten credits his faith in Jesus Christ for his release from prison, telling American Family News "with God, anything is possible." The Christ-follower has now turned his attention to a brother-in-arms – Calvin Gibbs.

"The Gibbs' situation weighs heavy on my heart, because he faces life in prison just like I did," Slatten shares, explaining that he is "incredibly bothered" by some important points of the case – facts with which perhaps only a fellow combat veteran can identify, he admits.

The Gibbs case

The incidents involving U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Gibbs occurred in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan between June 2009 and June 2010. In November 2011, he was convicted on multiple charges, including premeditated murder of three Afghan civilians. Gibbs, who is currently serving a life sentence (with eligibility for parole) in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, claimed that all the killings were justified.

"Gibbs is charged with three murders – [but] all three of the alleged victims have biometric data that proves that they are terrorists … that they are members of the Taliban. [But Gibbs'] jury was not allowed to view this evidence," Slatten tells AFN.

One of the deaths occurred during an active engagement, Slatten points out. "That means the enemy was engaging Calvin's squad and he and another member of his squad killed the enemy combatant," he continues. "How can he be charged with premeditated murder for a legitimate shoot?"

As for the other two victims? "To my understanding," Slatten explains, "these were also members of the Taliban – and Calvin was not even at the scene." According to Slatten, witnesses who would have testified Gibbs was not at the scene were threatened with prosecution.

Even though Gibbs should be eligible for parole soon, Slatten doesn't see that scenario playing out unless Gibbs would admit fault. "Although he has admitted to making mistakes in combat, he never murdered anyone," says Slatten. "There's exculpatory evidence that shows that the people who were killed in all three incidents had ties to the Taliban."

With the recent, chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, thousands of terrorists and criminals have been released into that war-torn country. Slatten takes issue with the fact that many of those who were released are responsible for the deaths and maiming of countless American servicemen and their allies.

"Why are thousands of Taliban walking free on the streets of Afghanistan while men like Gibbs are still in Leavenworth?" he asks. "It doesn't make sense for a man to be imprisoned for doing the job the country called him to do, no matter how bloody and violent that job can be at times."

Slatten requests prayer for the release of Gibbs, who is currently represented by United American Patriots.

Editor's note: More information about Calvin Gibbs is available here.