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Monday
Jan112010

SEALs will face trial in Iraq so detainee can be present

A judge ruled that trials will be moved to Iraq for Navy SEALs facing various charges about the treatment of an Iraqi detainee, Ahmed Hashim Abed. Abed is believed to be linked to the killings of 4 contractors whose bodies were desecrated and dragged through the streets of Fallujah.

On Monday in Norfolk, the judge set a trial date of April 5 for Navy Petty Officer 2nd class Jonathan Keefe. The trial will be held at Camp Victory.

The Virginian-Pilot, one of the only newspapers following this story consistently, said, “The military judge, Cmdr. Tierney Carlos, decided to move the trial to Iraq after military officials said they would make Abed available to give a deposition but not to testify. Carlos said Keefe has a right to face his accuser in court.”
Maj. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland who heads up Special Operations Command Central said the accusers were actually members of the U.S. military. But because the detainee is the alleged victim—in essence, the indirect accuser—the judge insisted he be present for the trials.

In a hearing for Petty Officer 1st Class Julio A. Huertas Jr., the judge made the same decision. Huertas’ trial is scheduled for the week after Keefe’s.

The paper said a hearing for Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe who allegedly punched Abed will be held this week.

The military had planned for Abed to give his statement via videotape.

Betty Kilbride, author and staunch advocate for the SEALs at the Facebook group Support the Navy SEALs Who Captured Ahmed Hashim Abed, said, “[T]here is no jury in this case... Court-Martials are not convened with a jury of peers, it is comprised of the convening authority (a group of officers usually who are hand picked from the JAG pool by the very people who are bringing the charges – it’s not a fair court to the service member).”

Many in the group believe the SEALs are being railroaded in a political witch hunt as a result of trickle down policy from Washington. The Facebook group supporting the SEALs now has 101,422 members.

A defense fund has been set up for the SEALs at Maritime Tactical Security.

[Disclosure: The editor has advocated for dropping charges against the SEALs and she has also contributed to their defense fund.]

 

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