The Green Beret who is set to be involuntarily discharged in early November has finally spoken out about the situation that caused his punishment in the first place: his intervening on behalf of an Afghan boy who was being repeatedly raped.
“Kicking me out of the Army is morally wrong and the entire country knows it,” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland said in his first public statement, which was provided to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who is advocating on the serviceman’s behalf.
In the statement obtained by Fox News, Martland detailed the day in 2011 that he and his team leader started a fight with local police commander Abdul Rahman, who allegedly raped a young boy multiple times. According to a separate statement from the team leader, Capt. Daniel Quinn, Rahman allegedly kept a young boy tied to a pole in his house, where he raped him repeatedly from 10 days to two weeks. Rahman’s brother was instructed to beat the child’s mother when she attempted to intervene, which he did.
Martland called Rahman a “brutal rapist” and said he and Quinn confronted him after confirming the allegations with several elders.
Rahman admitted to the act and ”the child rapist laughed it off and referenced that it was only a boy,” Martland said.
“Captain Quinn picked him up and threw him,” Martland said. “I [proceeded to] body-slam him multiple times.”
“I kicked him once in his ribcage after one of the body slams,” Martland said in the statement. “I put my foot on his neck and yelled at him after one body slam, but did not kick or punch him in the face. I continued to body-slam him and throw him for 50 meters until he was outside the camp.”
In his statement, Quinn said he physically threw Rahman off the camp through the front gates.
“He was never knocked out, and he ran away from our camp. It did not last longer than five minutes. The child rapist’s allegations against us are ridiculous,” Martland said.
After an investigation into the incident, Quinn and Martland were removed from the Afghan outpost. Quinn has since left the Army, but Martland is faced with an involuntary leave on Nov. 1 due to a military policy implemented amid budget cuts. Martland appealed the decision, but it has been denied.
“While I understand that a military lawyer can say that I was legally wrong, we felt a moral obligation to act,” Martland wrote in his statement.
Hunter has defended Martland’s actions, which Martland has argued were to protect the boy and American lives that were at risk.
“To intervene was a moral decision, and SFC Martland and his Special Forces team felt they had no choice but to respond,” Hunter wrote in a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in August.
“Mr. Secretary, I personally ask that you review the details of this case and intervene immediately,” Hunter said. “SFC Martland stood up to a child rapist — which I am fully confident you believe is the right thing to do — and the fact that he will soon be involuntarily separated as a result is troubling.”
However, as Fox News reported, others have not defended the actions of Quinn and Martland.
Col. Steve Johnson, a U.S. commander stationed in Afghanistan during that time, appears to have defended the Army’s decision in a conversation on his LinkedIn page, according to Fox News.
“The entire operational Chain of Command supported the relief for cause and reprimand. Vigilantism is illegal in the United States and should not be condoned elsewhere,” Johnson wrote. “We should do our best to ensure that the accused is brought to justice legally and fairly — we should never take the law into our own hands (as Martland and Quinn did).”
Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement last week that he is “absolutely confident that no such theater policy has ever existed here,” such as the one Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. said forbade officers from intervening in child rape cases because it’s “their culture” before his death in 2012.