Marine Accused of Faking Iraq Kidnap Resurfaces
Wassef Ali Hassoun was charged with desertion twice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2014 4:49 AM CDT
USMC Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun prepares himself as he waits to make a statement to a large crowd of media outside the gates to USMC Base Quantico, Va. in 2004.   (AP Photo/Dylan Moore, File)
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(Newser) – A Marine who disappeared from a base in Fallujah a decade ago, turned up in Lebanon weeks later, and then vanished again while facing desertion charges has resurfaced—and the military presumably has a lot of questions to ask him. After Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun vanished from the base in 2004, he was seen days later in what appeared to be a hostage video taken by Islamic militants, but arrived unharmed at the US Embassy in Beirut within the month, NBC reports. He was sent back to the US and charged with desertion after prosecutors accused him of faking his kidnapping. He was charged with desertion again in early 2005 after he fled to Lebanon, where he was born, ahead of a hearing on the first charge.

On his return to the US in 2004, Hassoun insisted he was a loyal Marine. "I did not desert my post," he told reporters. "I was captured and held against my will by anti-coalition forces for 19 days. This was a very difficult and challenging time for me." Military officials say the Naval Criminal Investigative Service worked with Hassoun to get him to turn himself in, the AP reports. The 34-year-old—who feared for his life in Lebanon, according to military officials—surrendered to NCIS investigators in Bahrain, and has now been returned to the US. Commanders will determine whether to court-martial him.