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Murder charges against US Navy Seal not to be dropped

SAN DIEGO:  Prosecutor says they would press murder charges against a US Navy Seal for stabbing to death a teenaged Islamic State militant in Iraq in 2017 despite the testimony of another seal who said he killed the prisoner.

Navy SEAL medic Corey Scott told the court on Thursday that he held his thumb over the victim’s breathing tube until he died, saying he did so to save the young militant from being tortured by Iraqi forces.

Scott said the young man’s original injuries – a leg wound and collapsed lung – were not life-threatening but that he was breathing through the tube when Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stabbed him in the neck.

“The government will not be dropping premeditated murder charges against Chief Petty Officer Gallagher, despite petty officer Scott’s testimony,” the Navy said in a statement. “The credibility of a witness is for the jury to decide.”

Scott, like other SEALs in Gallagher’s unit, has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. The prosecution accused Scott in court on Thursday of lying to protect Gallagher, and said his testimony contradicted his previous statements to them and the testimony of other SEALs.

The Islamic State fighter had been captured by Iraqi forces following house-to-house fighting in Mosul and dumped on the ground at a base outside the Iraqi city, the prosecution said in its opening statement on Monday.

Prosecutors say Gallagher, 39, who began his 18-year career as a medic, briefly treated the young Islamic State fighter, then pulled out his knife and stabbed him in the neck.