[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 01:48 GMT
US marine declared deserter again
Cpl Hassoun. Archive picture
Cpl Hassoun said he was held against his will for 19 days
A US marine charged with desertion from his unit in Iraq has again been declared a deserter after he failed to return from leave to his US base.

The decision was taken after Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, who was born in Lebanon, failed to show up at his North Carolina base, a spokesman there said.

After disappearing in Iraq last year, Cpr Hassoun mysteriously reappeared in Lebanon, saying he had been abducted.

There were indications that he went to Lebanon again, the spokesman said.

Warrant issued

There was huge public and media interest when Cpl Hassoun disappeared from his unit in Iraq in June.

There was the dramatic video footage of him blindfolded and apparently kidnapped, the BBC's Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs says.

Cpl Hassoun reappeared in Lebanon 19 days after he went missing - and when he was returned to the United States, he maintained that he had been abducted.

But after an investigation, he faced prospect of a court martial after the US Marines charged him with desertion, our correspondent says.

In the new twist, Cpl Hassoun failed to report for duty on Tuesday following an authorised holiday, said Maj Matt Morgan, a marine spokesman at Camp Jejeune-based 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

"The Marine Corps did contact his family when he initially failed to show up yesterday [Tuesday]. They were not able to provide any information that was helpful," the spokesman said.

He added that Cpl Hassoun was still missing on Wednesday afternoon, and "his command officially declared him a deserter and issued authorisation for civil authorities to apprehend Hassoun and return him to military control".


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific