SEAL Matthew McCabe Court-Martial Underway in Norfolk

by Janet

The third Navy SEAL Court-Martial on charges of abusing a suspected Iraqi terrorist is underway this week in Norfolk, Virginia. Petty Officer Second Class Matthew McCabe, 24, is charged with assaulting Ahmed Hashim Abed in a holding cell following a daring early-morning raid last fall in which he was captured by McCabe and other SEALs, without the firing of a single shot.

Abed is suspected of being the mastermind behind the grisly murders of four Blackwater security guards escorting a food shipment through the troubled streets of Fallujah in 2004. Their bodies were burned and dragged through the streets behind vehicles. The incident gained international attention after photos were published showing two of the charred bodies hanged from a bridge over the Euphrates river.

Last month, the other two SEALs charged, Petty Officers Julio Huertas and Jonathan Keefe, were acquitted of all charges in separate courts-martial conducted in Iraq, where Abed is in Iraqi custody. McCabe is the only one of the three charged with actually striking Abed.

Before the prosecution rested its case on Wednesday, the seven-member panel (jury) heard the testimony of Petty Officer Third Class Kevin DeMartino that he saw McCabe deliver "a right punch to the chest" of the detainee, and saw blood coming from under the hood covering Abed's head. The blood came from a cut lip, which the defense contends was self-inflicted. DeMartino was
in charge of the detention facility at the time.

The testimony of the alleged victim, Abed, was provided via tape on Tuesday. Fox News reports, "He said he was handcuffed and blindfolded and placed on a chair in the holding cell. He claims he was hit on the back and shoulders and knocked to the floor. He says he was kicked in the stomach and sworn at while he was down. But he says he could only see one person's feet and legs from under his hood and cannot identify his assailant."

The defense will begin its case Thursday morning. The defense contends that Abed's claims of abuse come straight from a terrorist training manual, and that his cut lip was self-inflicted to substantiate his claims of abuse.

So, we have the accused claiming he was "hit on the back and shoulders" and "kicked in the stomach," an eye-witness who saw a "right punch to the chest, and the only evidence of abuse is a bloody lip?

Doesn't sound like the strongest case for the prosecution. We'll bring you the verdict as soon as we hear it.

For more background about the case, see Free the SEALs!

You'll also find a link there if you'd like to contribute to the legal defense fund set up to help these three SEALs pay their legal expenses.

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