4 Navy SEALs face charges of abusing prisoners in Iraq
ARLINGTON, Va. — Four Navy SEALs face charges and disciplinary action in a case involving prisoner abuse in Iraq, adding to the scandal of detainee abuse plaguing the Defense Department.
The four SEALs were charged Thursday 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, said Cmdr. Jeff Bender, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego, Calif.
News of the charges were first made public Friday afternoon. The allegations surfaced when another SEAL, who no longer is part of the Navy’s special forces 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 could not disclose the nature of the allegations against the one SEAL, but said it has nothing to do with prisoner abuse.
The alleged abuse by the four charged SEALs did not occur at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Bender said, which has been the source of much of the abuse scandal surrounding the Army that has led to a series of investigations by high-level defense, congressional and former defense officials.
However, Bender said because the investigation against the four is ongoing, he could not say where in Iraq the alleged abuse happened or provide any details surrounding the allegations.
Nor did he provide any information on the four SEAL because formal charge sheets against them have yet to be released, Bender said.
Those charge sheets, which should identify the SEALs by name, could be made public as early as this week.
No dates for any disciplinary hearings have been set, Bender said. The hearings are likely to take place in San Diego, where the SEALs are based, he said.