A military jury in the United States has ruled that a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL was not guilty of murder over the killing of a wounded fighter from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group under his care outside of Mosul, Iraq in 2017.
Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was cleared of all charges in the case, except for posing for photos with the dead body of the captive.
Two soldiers under Gallagher's command testified that they saw Gallagher stab the wounded prisoner in the neck.
Military prosecutors also argued that Gallagher's own text messages and photos incriminated him.
They included photos of Gallagher holding the dead militant up by the hair and clutching a knife in his other hand.
A text message Gallagher sent while deployed said, "got him with my hunting knife."
But Gallagher's defense lawyers argued that Gallagher was framed by disgruntled members of his platoon who fabricated the allegations in order to oust him from his command.
The defense team described the charges as a case of "mutiny" by troops under Gallagher's command. They also repeatedly told the jury there was no body, no forensic evidence, and no blood found on Gallagher's knife.
An Iraqi general who handed the wounded prisoner to the SEALS testified that Gallagher did not stab the young fighter.
A U.S. Marine staff sergeant also testified that Gallagher had moved the militant's body after the prisoner died from injuries sustained in an air strike and that he saw no stab wounds on the militant's neck.