Petty Officer Julio Huertas is scheduled to go before a special court martial in January. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of a year in a military prison, demotion to the lowest Navy rank, a cut in pay and a bad conduct discharge.
The captive, Ahmed Hashim Abed -- thought to be behind the slayings and mutilation of four U.S. contractors in Falluja in 2004 -- accused his captors of punching him, the military said Wednesday. Huertas' co-defendants include Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe of Perrysburg, Ohio, and and Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe of Yorktown, Virginia.
All three soldiers are assigned to SEAL Team 10, based in Little Creek, VA.
Neal Puckett, a defense attorney representing McCabe, said the SEALs are basically being charged for allegedly giving the detainee "a punch in the gut" after his capture, according to the Sun-Times.
The SEALs refused to accept nonjudicial punishment, which are administrative actions that some in the military consider an admission of guilt. Hence, the court martial hearing.