The pretrial confinement initial review hearing for Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller—the U.S. Marine Corps officer jailed for criticizing senior military officials over the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan—could be held in secret, The Epoch Times has learned.
Members of Congress and Scheller’s family are seeking to attend the hearing, but the military’s position is that such matters should be held behind closed doors, according to a source familiar with the situation. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid backlash from the military, provided The Epoch Times with documentation supporting these claims.
The public affairs office for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina—where Scheller is confined at the regional brig—didn’t respond to media inquiries by press time. USMC spokesperson Samuel Stephenson also didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time, nor did government counsel Troy Campbell.
Scheller’s attorney, Brian Ferguson, declined to speak publicly about the case.
When Scheller was initially jailed, a Marine Corps spokesman said he would be “afforded all due process.”
The hearing, set for Oct. 5, will decide only whether Scheller is to remain in confinement. Either way, military officials must still decide whether to bring charges against him.
Scheller captured headlines in late August for criticizing senior military leadership on the handling of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. His initial video was posted on the same day that 13 U.S. troops and more than 100 Afghans were killed in an attack outside of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
He published another video on Sept. 16, saying that he was calling for “accountability of my senior leaders” over “obvious mistakes that were made.” In that video, Scheller also said he was “submitting charges” against Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie for his role in the disastrous withdrawal.
By Ken Silva