A Jordanian soldier accused of killing three members of a U.S. Special Forces team last November will face murder charges from his native government.
The soldier has been charged with murder with intent to kill more than one person. The suspect, M’aarek Abu Tayeh, has also been charged with “insulting the dignity and reputation of the military” and “violating orders and instructions of the military,” said James Moriarty, a Houston lawyer and father to one of the deceased Green Berets, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The charges come after a lengthy dispute between nations over the events of Nov. 4, 2016 — with the Americans defending the actions of its soldiers and Jordanian officials calling the procedures they took in entering the King Faisal Air Base improper, causing Abu Tayeh to open fire.
Abu Tayeh shot at the military convoy after the American soldiers trained Syrian rebels at a nearby weapons range, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas, Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Mo., and Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Ariz., were killed in the daylight attack last year.
Their family members say that FBI officials briefed them last Thursday about the charges leveled against Abu Tayeh.
Moriarty called them “a step in the right direction,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “It’s a 180-degree switch.”
Abu Tayeh’s trial is set to take place in a Jordanian military court.
Moriarty said that if it is open to the public, he will attend.
“I want to see the son-of-a-b---h convicted of murdering my boy,” he said, according to The Chronicle.
Family members were reportedly told that if convicted, Abu Tayeh could spend his life in prison.
Parent Chuck Lewellen said that he’d prefer an extradition, so that Abu Tayeh can be imprisoned in the U.S.
He also said that the crime should amount to a more severe punishment than “life at hard labor,” the same outlet reports.
He also remains skeptical that the Jordanian government will thoroughly enforce a possible conviction. “Is it just a sham?” he asked. “Are they going through the motions just to get us off their back?”
Lewellen and others have criticized the Jordanian response. They maintain that the country’s initial stance was that the U.S. soldiers rushed the gate of the base and accidentally discharged a weapon, causing Abu Tayeh to react.
Moriarty said that he believes Abu Tayeh set out to kill the American soldiers. He also wants charges leveled at 11 Jordanian soldiers who were at the scene but did not intervene.
Jordan is an ally to the U.S. in its war against the Islamic State, which is why the convoy was traveling in unarmored vehicles. The soldiers were reportedly not wearing body armor and had only sidearms while Abu Tayeh allegedly wielded an M-16 rifle.
A report from the U.S. Special Operations Command has suggested that U.S. soldiers move in armored vehicles and bring at least one rifle with them, Central Illinois Proud reports.Send a Letter to the Editor