NORFOLK, Va. - Supporters of three Navy SEALs charged with mistreating an Iraqidetainee rallied outside Naval Station Norfolk's Gate 5Tuesday.
The rally was originally scheduled to coincide with the trial ofPetty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe. Last week, however, a judgemoved McCabe's trial date to May 3rd.
McCabe, from Perrysburg, Ohio, is accused of punching AhmedHashim Abed, the suspected mastermind of a 2004 ambush that killedfour U.S. security contractors in Fallujah.
While McCabe will stand trial in Norfolk, the two other SEALsallegedly involved, Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas and PettyOfficer 2nd Class Jonathan E. Keefe, will have their trials at CampVictory in Iraq. Their trials are planned for April.
Huertas of Blue Island, Ill., faces charges of dereliction ofduty, lying to investigators and impeding an investigation.
Keefe, of Yorktown, faces charges of dereliction of duty andmaking a false official statement.
Earlier this month, a military judge moved their trials to Iraqafter government prosecutors said they would make the detaineeavailable for deposition at Camp Victory in Baghdad but would notbring him to Naval Station Norfolk to testify. The judge, Cmdr.Tierney Carlos, ruled that Keefe and Huertas have a right to facetheir accuser in open court.
The three SEALs have received an outpouring of support frompeople who consider them heroes for capturing Abed. Several membersof Congress have asked that the charges be dropped, and more than100,000 people have joined a Facebook page created to support theSEALs.
More than a dozen ex-military, parents of military members, andcivilians turned out Tuesday in Norfolk to show their support.
"These young men did their duty with honor and they need to havea medal and a heroes' welcome," said Russell Pope, one of thesupporters outside Naval Station Norfolk. "Instead they're findingthemselves in a court of law.
Added supporter Allison Patterson, "We ask them to go out hereand put their lives on the line everyday and they come back tothis. It's uncalled for, so I'm out here to support them to letthem know I'm here for them. Hopefully everything will turn out forthe best.
Terri Davis, Public Affairs Officer, Naval Station Norfolk, saidof the rally, "They have the right to peacefully assemble and theNavy supports that right."
Tuesday's rally in Norfolk lasted from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.
An Amtrak train carrying more than 40 passengers was involved in an accident with a car Thursday morning in Waverly. The driver of the car is facing multiple charges.
Some local families who lost a loved one during active duty military service boarded a special flight out of Norfolk Thursday morning.
Thousands of EMTs and paramedics checked their bank accounts Thursday for one last scheduled payment from the company that suddenly laid them off, but found nothing.