Wassef Ali Hassoun
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|Wassef Ali Hassoun|
January 1, 1980 |
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||2002-2016 (on active duty appellate leave)
Wassef Ali Hassoun (Arabic: واصف علي حسون; born January 1, 1980) is a United States Marine who was charged with desertion for leaving his unit and 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-born 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 U.S. 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.
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 faced a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and from five to ten years incarceration on each specification.
On February 23, 2015, Hassoun was found guilty of deserting when he disappeared in 2004 and 2005. He was also convicted of causing the loss of his service pistol. His sentence amounts to two years and five days, but he got credit for approximately eight months he spent in pretrial confinement. Hassoun also will have his rank reduced, lose his pay and receive a dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence. 
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