MACDILL AFB, Fla. (NNS) -- In September 2009, evidence of possible detainee abuse came to light at a Forward Operating Base in Iraq.
Upon receipt of this evidence, Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) initiated an investigation which was conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Based upon the evidence uncovered in this investigation, three Sailors were accused of making false official statements with the intent to deceive the investigator and dereliction of duty for failing to safeguard a detainee who was in their custody.
One of the three Sailors has been charged with assaulting the detainee after the prisoner had been apprehended and while he was in their custody at the base.
Another has been charged with an additional offense of impeding an investigation by unlawfully attempting to influence a witness in the investigation.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the three Sailors were offered non-judicial punishment as a means of resolving the allegations. All three Sailors exercised their right under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to refuse the administrative punishment. After this refusal, the attached charges were then referred to Special Courts-martial.
The Sailors are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty at Courts-martial. The charges against the accused are merely accusations. SOCCENT is committed to ensuring that the Constitutional rights of the accused are protected and to maintaining good order and discipline.
The official charge sheets for the three accused Sailors can be viewed at www.navy.mil/ChargeSheets.pdf.
Two of the Sailors are scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 7 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Regional Legal Service Office at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The proceeding is scheduled to last one hour.
The third Sailor's arraignment has not been scheduled. Trial dates are tentatively scheduled for mid-January 2010 at Naval Station Norfolk.
SOCCENT is the convening authority.
It would be inappropriate to comment further on a case that is currently in the pre-trial phase.
For more news from Special Operations Command - Central, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsw/.