SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego-based Navy SEAL faces a military trial in the killing of a teenage ISIS fighter in Iraq.
Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a 19-year Navy veteran, is scheduled to be arraigned at Naval Base San Diego on Friday.
Gallagher is charged with premeditated murder in the May 2017 stabbing death of an Islamic State fighter who had been detained near Mosul, Iraq. The injured ISIS detainee was believed to be 15 years old, the Associated Press reported.
Military prosecutors said Gallagher posed for a photo with the deceased detainee and completed a reenlistment ceremony next to the body.
Gallagher, who is also accused of shooting at Iraqi civilians on several occasions, has been held at the Naval Consolidated Brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar since his September 2018 arrest.
Gallagher’s platoon leader, Lt. Jacob Portier, was arrested weeks later on accusations of trying to help Gallagher cover up the alleged war crimes.
Jeremiah Sullivan, Portier’s attorney, told 10News the cases against his client and Gallagher have serious challenges.
“It’s very complex because the alleged crime scene itself is on a battlefield in Mosul, Iraq. Many of the witnesses are still in Iraq,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan also said Portier and Gallagher should be honored for their service.
“All of these war fighters truly should’ve been awarded medals and not charge sheets; they’ve proudly served our country many times,” Sullivan added.
If convicted, Gallagher could face a life term in prison.
Congressman Duncan Hunter advocated in a statement that Gallagher's case be reviewed by President Trump instead of the Navy because of the "over-aggressiveness of the Navy JAG Corp showing its bias against our warfighters."
He added that he's received reports that Gallagher wasn't being provided with adequate legal representation.
"I have also received reports that Chief Gallagher is being confined to the brig where, allegedly, he has not been provided with quality access to medical care, mental health services or legal representation. I am reviewing this situation further. If true, it is completely unacceptable and, without hesitation, I will introduce legislation to ensure this situation is not repeated. South American criminal illegal aliens are provided with better access to legal representation than our nation’s elite warriors because bureaucratic lawyers in the Navy justice system see this situation as an opportunity to make their name and advance their career," Hunter's statement read in part.