- A US Marine attached to Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher’s platoon challenged the testimony of prosecution witnesses Thursday, telling the court that the SEAL did not stab a prisoner of war to death as others have alleged.
- An Iraqi general also testified in a pre-recorded video that the SEALs, including Gallagher, did what they could to save the captured militant, who was almost gone when he was handed over to the SEALs for care.
- The defence is calling witnesses after the prosecution wrapped up its case, which involved shocking testimony from a fellow SEAL who unexpectedly confessed to killing the prisoner Gallagher is accused of murdering, surprising the prosecution.
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A US Marine who deployed to Iraq with Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher testified Thursday that the accused SEAL did not stab a teenage prisoner of war to death, a war crime for which he is standing trial.
Gallagher is accused of killing a prisoner of war in Iraq and shooting innocent civilians with a sniper rifle, among other offenses. The decorated SEAL has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Marine Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo, an intelligence specialist attached to Gallagher’s platoon who was with the prisoner the whole time after his capture, said that the adolescent militant died of mortal wounds sustained on the battlefield. His testimony contradicted that of two of Gallagher’s fellow SEALs, who testified that Gallagher stabbed him with a hunting knife, according to Reuters.
Kirylo said he didn’t particularly care for Gallagher, but he stressed that the SEAL did not kill the prisoner. He accused Gallagher’s fellow SEAL Craig Miller, a prosecution witness who testified last week that he saw Gallagher stab the captive in the neck, of lying, CNN reported.
The Marine’s comments in court came on the heels of testimony by an Iraqi general, who told the court that Gallagher tried to save the 17-year-old prisoner.
“They support him. They did their best to get him to survive,” he said in a video that was pre-recorded earlier this month, explaining that the young prisoner “was at the last moment of life,” when he was handed over to the SEALs for medical treatment.
The Iraqi officer, Maj. Gen. Abbas al-Jubouri, said that if he had seen Gallagher mistreat the captive, he would have intervened. “Any mistake, I would stop him. I would be very upset,” he explained in the video, Reuters reported.
The latest testimonies come as the defence makes its case for Gallagher’s innocence. During the prosecution’s case last week, a witness called by prosecutors dropped a bombshell testimony that caught them off guard. One of Gallagher’s former comrades, Corey Scott, testified that it was he, not Gallagher, that killed the prisoner.
Scott, who was given testimonial immunity, said that while Gallagher stabbed the prisoner, the militant died because Scott plugged the boy’s breathing tube, asphyxiating him. The prosecution has turned on its own witness, accusing Scott of lying. Navy prosecutors are weighing perjury charges against him.
Closing arguments in Gallagher’s war crimes trial, a high-profile case that has drawn the attention of the president, are expected next week.