22 April 2010

SEAL Acquitted. Justice served - at least partially

The first of the SEALs has been acquitted in the prisoner abuse case.

A U.S. military jury cleared a Navy SEAL Thursday of failing to prevent the beating of an Iraqi prisoner suspected of masterminding a 2004 attack that killed four American security contractors.

The contractors' burned bodies were dragged through the streets and two were hanged from a bridge over the Euphrates river in the former insurgent hotbed of Fallujah, in what became a major turning point in the Iraq war.

The trial of three SEALs, the Navy's elite special forces unit, has outraged many Americans who see it as coddling terrorists.

Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas, 28, of Blue Island, Illinois, was found not guilty by a six-man jury of charges of dereliction of duty and attempting to influence the testimony of another service member.

The jury spent two hours deliberating the verdict.

Huertas is the first of three SEALS to face a court-martial for charges related to the abuse incident. All three SEALs could have received only a disciplinary reprimand, but insisted on a military trial to clear their names and save their careers.

The trial stems from an attack on four Blackwater security contractors who were driving through the city of Fallujah west of Baghdad in early 2004. The images of the bodies hanging from the bridge drove home to many the rising power of the insurgency and helped spark a bloody U.S. invasion of the city to root out the insurgents later that year.

The Iraqi prisoner who was allegedly abused, Ahmed Hashim Abed, testified Wednesday on the opening day of the trial at the U.S. military's Camp Victory on Baghdad's western outskirts that he was beaten by U.S. troops while hooded and tied to a chair.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin DeMartino, who was assigned to process and transport the prisoner and is not a SEAL, testified he saw one SEAL punch the prisoner in the stomach and watched blood spurt from his mouth. Huertas and the third SEAL were in the narrow holding-room at the time of the incident, he added.

But defense attorneys tried to cast doubt on the beating claims, showing photographs of Abed after the alleged beating in which he had a visible cut inside his lip but no obvious signs of bruising or injuries anywhere else.

1 acquitted, several to go...

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

I am releived and quite happy to hear of his aquittal....I guess there IS "SOME" justice left in our quite pathetic and "politically correct [HA]" criminal "justice" system. As a military "brat," as a patriot, and as a citizen of the U.S., as the mother, daughter, cousin, sister-in-law-, daughter-in-law, and friends of many in various branches of the military I was disgusted to hear about "THE GENERAL" that brought forth these charges--I WAS/AM DISGUSTED. As far as I'm concerned THE GENERAL himself is a disgrace to this country, to the Military and should be to himself--HE should be brought up on charges of treason. HE disgusts me.....I say: DROP all charges and change the ROE's if a hero has to be charged for punching a known terroist-murderer [!!!!] who has murdered even ONE of our own. "THE GENERAL" himself is a disgusting but perhaps [in this day and time] "politically correct." I say drop ALL further charges.


Anonymous said...

Why only partial justice? He was acquitted.

Brant said...

There's a few more trials to go.