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Navy SEAL accused of Iraq war crimes heading for court-martial

San Diego Union-Tribune

A San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of committing war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Iraq is headed for court-martial, the Navy said Wednesday.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward R. Gallagher is scheduled to be arraigned in a San Diego military courtroom Friday, said Brian O’Rourke, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest, the court-martial’s convening authority.

Gallagher, who is a medic, is accused of killing a wounded ISIS combatant under his care and then reenlisting while standing next to the corpse, a charge sheet provided to the Union-Tribune says. He is also charged with, on another occasion, shooting two civilians — a man and a woman.

The Navy is also charging Gallagher with shooting at non-combatants — civilians — several times throughout his deployment to Mosul, Iraq, and with trying to obstruct the investigation after the unit returned to San Diego.

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Charges that Gallagher used and possessed controlled substances were dropped.

Gallagher killed civilians “indiscriminately,” a military prosecutor said as evidence was presented at a preliminary hearing in November, and the chain of command “did nothing about it.”

Gallagher’s platoon commander, Navy Lt. Jacob Xavier Portier, is accused of having knowledge of Gallagher’s actions and failing to follow through with a timely investigation, but the Navy has not yet said whether he will face court-martial.

Gallagher’s San Diego-based attorney Phillip Stackhouse did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday morning.

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Dyer writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

andrew.dyer@sduniontribune.com


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