Marine who vanished in Iraq has court hearing

Camp Lejeune - A Marine hearing officer has postponed a decision on a Marine accused of deserting his unit in Iraq 10 years ago.

Lt Col Scott W Martin adjourned the Article 32 hearing on Thursday for Cpl Wassef Hassoun by at least a week so the defence can provide translated Lebanese government documents. An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a grand jury.

Defense attorney Haytham Faraj says Hassoun was kept in Lebanon for years for court proceedings triggered by a US warrant accusing him of desertion. Faraj says Hassoun contacted US authorities as soon as the Lebanese case against him ended.

Prosecutors argue that there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Hassoun was unhappy and fled the army in Iraq and later fled to Lebanon after briefly returning to the US.