A Texas congressman is appealing to President Trump for a full review of cases involving a group of veterans, known as the Leavenworth 10, who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and are now imprisoned for battlefield crimes.
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, asked Trump in a letter to consider the immense pressure the men were under while fighting for their country.
“As you know, our troops face extremely difficult decisions while serving in the heat of battle,” reads a copy of the letter, which was obtained by Fox News.
“These moments present life-or-death consequences not only for them, but for the men and women with whom they serve. Far too often, we forget that a tiny fraction of our society has to shoulder the immense burden of these wars. These men and women voluntarily joined the military and answered our nation’s call to duty.”
The Leavenworth 10 are serving terms in the Fort Leavenworth penitentiary that range from 10 years to life. The soldiers and marines considered to be part of the Leavenworth 10 changes whenever one of them completes his sentence and another convicted veteran takes his place.
Babin’s appeal adds to those of veterans, their families, former congressmen and other supporters who believe justice is not always served when young service members’ fates are sealed in military courtrooms far removed from the heat of battle.
Many, including Babin, have taken issue with the imprisonment of these soldiers as the previous administration emptied the military’s Guantanamo Bay detention facility of avowed terrorists while these servicemen have languished in another detention facility for actions on those same battlefields that their supporters say merit clemency.
“I’m certainly not excusing what these men may have done,” Babin told Fox News, “but the previous administration emptied the Guantanamo Bay facility of terrorists that returned right back to the battlefield.”
“Our troops face extremely difficult decisions when in battle,” he added. “These are life and death decisions they have to make. They are in intense situations that few can understand.”
Babin said that all he is requesting is a full review of the cases.
“This is something that should be looked at again,” he said. “Especially in light of all the clemencies that were issued to convicted terrorists.”
He also believes that Trump will be very responsive to his request.
“I’ve met with the President a few times and I know he is a great admirer of our military,” he said. “I feel confident that he will consider this issue.”
Some of the more better-known cases involve Army First Lt. Clint Lorance, Sgt. Derrick Miller and Master Sgt. John Hatley.
Sgt. Derrick Miller of Maryland was on a combat mission in a Taliban-held area of Afghanistan in September 2010 when he was warned the unit’s base had been penetrated. An Afghan suspected of being an enemy combatant was brought to Miller for interrogation and wound up dead. Miller claimed the suspect tried to grab his gun and that he shot him in self-defense. But he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Miller’s mother, Reneé Myers, says that she is relieved that some in congress are taking up the cause for the families of the Leavenworth 10.
“I’m overjoyed to see a letter to the president that specifically asks for action,” Myers told Fox News.
“After years and years fighting for my son, it’s good to see someone like Babin fight for us. He has had no type of relief in a sentence reduction,” she says. “None what-so-ever. At the bare minimum they should reduce his sentence. The military courts are not good enough at addressing these issues with these service members.”