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Navy SEAL is being detained, suspected of executing ISIS prisoner with blade in 2017, report says

U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team members participate in a tactical warfare training. The SEAL in the foreground is carrying a field radio and is armed with a Colt Model 653 carbine equipped with an M203 grenade launcher. (U.S. Navy/Released)
September 21, 2018
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A U.S. Navy SEAL is currently being detained in the brig after allegedly executing an ISIS detainee with a blade last year.

The SEAL, a California-based Naval Special Warfare operator, was allegedly involved in the blade-style execution of an ISIS prisoner in Iraq during 2017, a matter currently under investigation, according to a Navy Times report on Thursday.

“A service member currently assigned to a Naval Special Warfare unit is under investigation by NCIS for professional misconduct while deployed to Iraq in 2017. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and will cooperate fully with investigative authorities,” Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence told the Navy Times.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is probing the incident to determine what role the SEAL played in the incident, details of which were revealed by seven Navy officials to the Navy Times.

The SEAL remains detained in the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar during the investigation, although they have not yet been charged with a crime. The SEAL’s name and other details will not be released until charges are filed, the Navy Times said.

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“All members of Naval Special Warfare are required to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict and U.S. law and regulations in the conduct of military operations,” Lawrence said. “Naval Special Warfare strives to maintain the highest level of readiness, effectiveness, discipline, efficiency, integrity, and public confidence. All suspected violations for which there is credible information are thoroughly investigated.”

Rules for Court-Martial 305 permit the confinement of enlisted personnel if probable cause is sufficient enough to be tried under military law. Further, an Article 32 hearing may be held if enough evidence is gathered against the SEAL, and a hearing officer would provide recommendations on criminal charges based on such evidence.

The latest incident follows two other scandals involving SEALs over the past year.

In July, two SEAL commanders were relieved of duty following sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations, ABC News had reported. The two were serving in East Africa when the allegations surfaced in May, resulting in both individuals’ retraction from deployment. They remained in their commanding roles throughout the investigation, and were relieved after the conclusion.

In Nov. 2017, two members of SEAL Team Six were investigated for their reported involvement in the strangling of a Green Beret, the New York Post had reported.  The Green Beret refused a bribe offered to him by the SEALs after exposing their scheme of skimming money from an intelligence source and informant fund. An altercation ensued, and the Green Beret was discovered unresponsive. It was later determined that he died from asphyxiation and the two SEALs accused of a deliberate coverup.

It’s not yet known if other individuals were involved in the latest incident with the ISIS detainee, or what punishment is possible for those involved.

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