A Marine that disappeared from a base in Fallujah, Iraq eight years ago and ended up in Lebanon might face a court martial. Thirty-four year old Corporal Wassef Housson was born and raised in Lebanon. He later immigrated to the United States and become a citizen. Housson joined the Marines and was deployed to Iraq in 2004. Shortly thereafter, he disappeared from his base in Fallujah. Approximately a week later, in a photo thought to have been taken by insurgents, Housson was displayed blindfolded and being threatened with sword. A few days later he made his way to the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon and claimed to have been kidnapped.
The U.S. authorities did not find Housson’s story to be credible. Witnesses have stated that he disagreed with certain tactics the U.S. was taking in Iraq and that he said he would not fight back against Iraqi’s. The military considered charging him with a crime, sent him back to the United States, but, allowed him to travel to visit family. At this point, Housson vanished again.
Prosecutors are now alleging that Housson voluntarily left his base in 2004 and traveled to Lebanon in 2005 when he was given permission to travel. He spent considerable time there as he was married and had a son. Housson’s attorney says that he went to Lebanon in 2005, was arrested due to being suspected of deserting in 2004 and was not allowed to leave the country. The attorney presented various documents in support of this story. One of these documents shows that the travel restrictions placed on Housson were lifted by Lebanese officials only a few months after he was arrested, in total contradiction of his claims.
For these reasons, military officials are trying to get to the bottom of what actually happened. For now, a hearing officer has recommended that Housson face a court martial for deserting in 2004.
As with any AWOL, how a service member is apprehended and the circumstances around apprehension can influence whether an individual is charged. Like Housson, the circumstances surrounding when and how the service member goes AWOL will also influence the charging decision. If service members have the opportunity to consult with an attorney prior to turning themselves in, or prior to making a statement, there is a greater opportunity to influence the charging decision and the potential charges. Whether you were stationed in Iraq, Korea, Japan, Fort Carson, Fort Hood or any other military installation, the Colorado Springs based military attorneys at www.courtmartiallaw.com can help service members who are AWOL or who are charged with being AWOL.
If you are looking for an attorney experienced in court martial defense or appeals, contact Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein at (303)567-7981 for a free consultation.