Three Navy SEALs are facing court-martial for allegedly assaulting and mishandling a detainee they captured in Iraq in September, military officials said.
The three SEALs — Special Warfare Operators 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Jonathan Keefe, and SO1 Julio Huertas — will be arraigned Dec. 7 in a military court in Norfolk, Va., said Army Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, a spokeswoman with U.S. Special Operations Command Central.
Neal Puckett, a defense attorney who is representing McCabe, said the SEALs are being essentially charged for allegedly giving the detainee “a punch in the gut.”
One defense attorney said they had refused to accept nonjudicial punishment, administrative actions that some in the military may consider as a admission of guilt.
Cmdr. Greg Geisen, a Naval Special Warfare Command spokesman in Coronado, Calif., referred all questions about the charges to SOCCent.SOURCE nAVY tIMES.
Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.
Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.
Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.
Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.
Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.