Navy SEALs' trials moved to Iraq
NORFOLK, Va. - Two of the three Navy SEALs accused in the mistreatment of an Iraqi detainee will have their military trials take place in Iraq, a military judge ruled Monday.
Both Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan E. Keefe appeared in military court at Naval Station Norfolk in separate hearings. In each case, the presiding judge decided to move the sailor's trial to Camp Victory in Iraq. That decision was made so that the victim could give direct testimony instead of a deposition, enabling Huertas and Keefe to face their accuser.
The charges against the three SEALs involve Ahmed Hashim Abed, who has been linked to the 2004 deaths of four Blackwater contractors who were mutilated before their bodies were hung from a bridge.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe is accused of striking the detainee in the midsection, dereliction of duty for failing to safeguard the detainee, and lying to investigators. He deferred entering a plea until his Jan. 19 trial.
Huertas of Blue Island, Ill., faces charges of dereliction of duty, lying to investigators and impeding an investigation.
Keefe, of Yorktown, faces charges of dereliction of duty and making a false official statement. Huertas and Keefe have pleaded not guilty. Their trials are planned for April.
The SEALs have received an outpouring of public support, including the backing of several members of Congress.