Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

US Navy SEALs testifiy against comrade in Iraq war crimes trial

Edward Gallagher is charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder of two civilians

US Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher arrives at court with his wife and brother Sean for his war crimes trial in San Diego, California, June 18, 2019. Reuters
US Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher arrives at court with his wife and brother Sean for his war crimes trial in San Diego, California, June 18, 2019. Reuters

A Navy SEAL has testified that he saw a comrade stab a wounded and captive teenage ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017.

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, 40, is on trial for war crimes at a military court in California, facing charges of premeditated murder and attempted murder of two civilians – including a young girl – and obstruction of justice.

His alleged acts in Iraq in 2017 were reported by men under his own command in the special operations branch of the US Navy.

Mr Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder.

Chief Craig Miller testified on Wednesday that Mr Gallagher plunged his knife twice into the neck of the teenage prisoner after providing medical care during the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS in 2017.

Mr Miller says blood spurted out of the neck of the fighter, who appeared to be a teenager, and he reported what he saw to an officer.

A defence lawyer pointed out inconsistencies between Mr Miller's testimony and previous statements and suggested he pressured other sailors to fabricate statements.

Mr Miller denied that accusation during Gallagher's court-martial.

Defence lawyers say Mr Gallagher treated the wounded prisoner. They accuse disgruntled SEALs of lying to prevent him from being promoted because they did not like his demanding leadership.

Earlier on Wednesday, a former Navy SEAL testified that Mr Gallagher fired his sniper rifle at Iraqi civilians on several occasions.

Dylan Dille told jurors that he believed Mr Gallagher shot an old man and fired at women walking along a river and a group of people getting water.

The defence objected to the testimony, saying descriptions of the alleged shootings were "wildly vague." But the judge allowed most of the testimony from Mr Dille, who was a first class special warfare operator.

Mr Dille says he was near Mr Gallagher during the shootings but did not see him pull the trigger.

Mr Dille says Mr Gallagher radioed that he thought he had missed after seeing the old man shot in Mosul in 2017.

Other evidence presented so far during the trial, which began on Monday, include photos of Mr Gallagher holding up the head of a dead ISIS fighter by the hair while clenching a knife in his other hand.

Updated: June 20, 2019 05:22 PM

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