Source Pravda.Ru

Wassef Ali Hassoun - hero or deserter?

Wassef Ali Hassoun, Corporal of the United States Marines insists that he did not desert, but was held captive by the anti-coalition forces in Iraq for 19 days. Thus, he rejects all remarks, that he may have deserted from his unit to flee to his native Lebanon.

Upon reading his brief on a lawn near a gate at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, Corporal Hassoun, 24, took no questions and departed quickly in a van.

The Marine officials said they were as yet unable to confirm the account given by Lebanese-born Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, who made a brief statement to reporters at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, 35 miles south of Washington, reports Reuters.

"We're not in a position at this point to make a judgment either way," said Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman.

"We are still gathering facts and information. And until that process is complete, at this point we are supporting our young Marine in bringing him back from a very harrowing ordeal and supporting his return to duty," Lapan said.

The Lebanese-born 24-year-old had gone missing from his Marine unit near Fallujah last month.

He had been seen in a video blindfolded with a sword poised over his head, apparently being held by Iraqi insurgents.

An Islamic website later stated he had been beheaded, but he showed up unharmed at the US Embassy in Beirut on July 8. It is still not clear how he managed to travel the 500 miles.

The soldier returned to America last week and will return to a Marine Cops base in North Carolina shortly.