A Marine lieutenant colonel who was imprisoned for criticizing military leadership about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, during which a suicide attack left 13 soldiers dead, has been formally charged with six violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, his unit announced Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. was accused of: disrespect toward superior commissioned officers; willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer; dereliction in the performance of duties; failure to obey order or regulation; and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, according to a release from the Marines’ Training and Education Command.
No hearing date in the court-martial case has been set, the release from Capt. Sam Stephenson said.
Scheller was released from pretrial confinement on Tuesday after spending more than a week in the brig. The release followed intense public criticism and rebukes from several members of Congress.
Military law experts told Newsmax that the imprisonment was not only unnecessary but disproportionately harsh.
Scheller posted the first of several videos to his Facebook page criticizing military leaders on Aug. 26, the same day a suicide bombing attack killed 13 military members and 170 others at the Kabul airport. He followed that with several more similar posts.
“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, 'we messed this up,'" Scheller said in the Aug. 26 video.
Scheller had announced during the videos that he intended to bring charges against senior military officials for their actions regarding the withdrawal. He also announced on Aug. 29 that he was resigning his commission – after being relieved of command.
While not specifically referring to Scheller, in its release the Marines’ TEC addressed a soldier’s “constitutional rights to free speech.”
“In the military, there are proper forums to raise concerns with the chain of command,” it reads. “In a general sense not specific to any case, posting to social media criticizing the chain of command is not the proper manner in which to raise concerns with the chain of command and may, depending upon the circumstances, constitute a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
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