Wassef Ali Hassoun
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|Wassef Ali Hassoun|
January 1, 1980 |
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||2002 – 2004 (deserted)|
Wassef Ali Hassoun (Arabic: واصف علي حسون; born January 1, 1980) is a corporal in the United States Marine Corps who was charged with desertion for leaving his unit and apparently engaging with others in a hoax to make it appear that he had been captured by terrorists on June 19, 2004 while serving in Iraq. Originally listed as having deserted, the Lebanese American U.S. Marine was then thought to have been taken hostage by Iraqis who were thought to have befriended him.
Al Jazeera broadcast a video of Hassoun on June 27, 2004, blindfolded and with a masked man holding a sword over his head, saying that he had been captured. His "kidnappers" identified themselves as part of "Islamic Response", the security wing of the "National Islamic Resistance" 1920 Revolution Brigades. On July 3, 2004, Al Jazeera reported that the terrorist group Jaish Ansar al-Sunna had released a statement declaring they had beheaded Hassoun, and their website confirmed this. On July 4 it was reported al-Sunna denied this, and on July 6, Al Jazeera reported receipt of a message he'd been "taken to a safe location" after he promised to desert from the Marine Corps. On July 7, CNN reported that Hassoun had contacted his family in West Jordan, Utah and Lebanon from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, asking to be picked up at an unspecified location. The Houston Chronicle stated later that afternoon his family, as well as the embassy in question, deny that the telephone call had taken place.
A preliminary result of the United States Navy investigation into the activities of Wassef Ali Hassoun concluded that he deserted the Marine Corps on June 21, 2004. In mid-July, he publicly denied desertion.
On December 9, 2004, The Pentagon announced that Hassoun would be charged with desertion, larceny and wrongful disposition of military property in connection with his service-issued M9 pistol that disappeared with him and never turned up. If convicted, he could receive a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and from five to ten years incarceration on each specification.
In a further twist, on January 4, 2005, he was again labelled a deserter after failing to return to his base in North Carolina from authorized leave and has not been seen since. He reportedly fled to Lebanon.
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