SAN DIEGO –Two witnesses testified Thursday that they were with SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher while he was treating a teenage ISIS prisoner who later died and they never saw Gallagher stab the injured man.
Gallagher is charged with war crimes in Iraq including murdering the young prisoner and shooting Iraqi civilians.
The first testimony Thursday came from Iraqi Major Gen. Abbas Al-Jabouri. His testimony was pre-taped from earlier in the month and played in court on Thursday. General Al-Jabouri said the ISIS prisoner Gallagher is accused of murdering was brought to a compound where Al-Jabouri and Chief Gallagher were positioned in 2017. He said the prisoner “had two or three bullets, I think, in the right leg. There was lots of blood.”
Earlier in that day, US forces bombed a village where 35 to 50 ISIS fighters were hiding. Iraqi soldiers then moved in to secure the area. The general said the ISIS fighter brought to camp was the only survivor of the attack on the village. He said the ISIS prisoner told him he was 17 years old. Al-Jabouri added that Gallagher and two other SEALS started giving the prisoner medical aid. “They did their best to survive his life,” Al-Jabouri said.
Al-Jabouri wanted the prisoner to live so that his men could interrogate him. When the general learned later that Gallagher had been arrested for stabbing the prisoner, he made a video where he stated he thought the ISIS prisoner had suffered internal injuries from the airstrike. When he was asked if he ever saw Gallagher stab the prisoner in the neck, he replied, “No.”
The most powerful testimony came from Marine Raider Gunnery Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo. Testifying without immunity, Kirylo explained that he was in charge of gathering intelligence. He helped plan the air strike against the ISIS village the day the prisoner was captured. He said he was at the compound when the prisoner was brought in. He said he watched as Gallagher and the other medics tried to save the young man’s life, but that “it became apparent whatever these guys are trying to do to save his life isn’t working.”
Kirylo said the fighter eventually died, but that he never saw Gallagher stab him. Afterward, he said it was his idea to take a photo with the dead body.
“I chose to take a cool-guy trophy photo with my dead ISIS fighter. This is the fruits of my labor on the ground,” Kirylo testified.
He said all the guys in the platoon were in a good mood after the ISIS prisoner died, feeling that the attack on the village had been successful.
“Each guy took turns with the dead body to take a photo with it,” Kirylo said. “I lifted him up by his hair, 6 to 8 inches” off the ground to take the photo. When asked if he saw a stab wound on the ISIS fighter’s neck, he said, “not a single one.”
Under cross examination by the prosecution, Kirylo admitted he wasn’t at the scene the entire time the ISIS prisoner was being worked on. He paced around nearby, looking at his phone at times. The prosecutors also pointed out that Kirylo and Gallagher were friends and had texted one another about grabbing a beer when they returned home from deployment.
Prosecutors asked why Kirylo never contacted NCIS investigators to defend Gallagher after he was arrested. He replied he had nothing to add.