Navy drops charges against SEALs accused of abusing detainees in Afghanistan

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U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land Team commandos participate in exercise TRIDENT 18-4 at Hurlburt Field, Fla., on July 11, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Corban Lundborg)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

The U.S. Navy dismissed charges on August 6 against four SEALs accused of abusing detainees in Afghanistan seven years ago, AP reported.


The four SEALs — Lieutenant Jason Webb, Chief Petty Officers David Swarts and Xavier Silva, and Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel D'Ambrosio — were accused of abusing bound prisoners alongside Afghan local police.

Evidence in the seven-year case had "degraded" and convictions were no longer likely, military prosecutors told Navy Region Southwest commander Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Initially, Swarts, Silva, and D'Ambrosio received nonjudicial, administrative punishment. But after a 2015 New York Times story alleged a cover-up, the Navy reexamined the case and pressed charges in January 2017.

The dropped charges come amid turmoil in the Navy after a failed prosecution last month of another case involving SEALs in Iraq on suspicion of committing war crimes.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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