3 more SEALs charged with prisoner abuse
ARLINGTON, Va. — Three more sailors with Naval Special Warfare Command face charges for allegedly abusing prisoners in Iraq, bringing to seven the number of seaman facing disciplinary action in the incident.
Six of the seven sailors are members of the service’s elite special forces. Four sailors were charged three weeks ago, said Cmdr. Jeff Bender, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego.
None of the sailors has been identified publicly.
The three sailors charged Friday are charged with more serious crimes than the previous four. Their charges include failure to report abuse to superior authorities, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault, aggravated assault with intent to cause death or serious bodily harm, conduct unbecoming, obstruction of justice and assault with a deadly weapon.
The previous four were charged with failure to report maltreatment of detainees to proper authorities, maltreatment of detainees, making false official statements to investigators, assault and aggravated assault, and solicitation to commit an offense.
None is jailed, Bender said.
The allegations against all seven surfaced when another SEAL, who no longer is part of the Navy’s special forces command and who himself faces unrelated disciplinary action, told officials investigating his case that he witnessed the abuse of detainees between October 2003 and April 2004, Bender said.
Bender said he could not disclose the nature of the allegations against the one SEAL who provided information to investigators, but said it has nothing to do with prisoner abuse.
Nor can he disclose details about the abuse incident or where in Iraq the alleged abuse took place. However, it did not occur at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, which has been the source of much of the abuse scandal surrounding the Army and which led to a series of investigations by high-level defense, congressional and former defense officials.
No dates for any disciplinary hearings have set for any of the seven sailors, Bender said. The hearings are likely to take place in San Diego, where the SEALs are based, he said.