Alleged Marine deserter being held at Camp Lejeune

CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY - A Marine accused of deserting his unit in Iraq is now being held at Camp Lejeune to face Marine commanders.

Wassef Ali Hassoun, 34, was flown to Norfolk Sunday and transported to Camp Lejeune on Monday. He arrived on base around 9am.

LtCol. Cliff Gilmore says, "Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun has been returned to the custody of II Marine Expeditionary Force after approximately ten years in deserter status following failure to report to his unit for duty in January, 2005. His voluntary return was coordinated by agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He was transferred to II MEF custody on June 30, 2014, and is being held in pre-trial confinement at the Marine Corps Installations East/Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Regional Brig while awaiting appropriate administrative or judicial action."

The corporal disappeared from his unit 10 years ago, and was found in Lebanon. Hassoun blamed his disappearance on kidnappers when he turned up in June of 2004 in Lebanon.

He returned to the United States, where he disappeared again on a Christmas visit.

The commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force will decide if a court martial will take place.

Jacksonville resident Whitey Martin says, "He did commit AWOL and I think anybody who commits AWOL should be punished but if they do not punish Bergdahl and punish this guy then I will be one upset person, really."

Another Jacksonville Resident says anyone who goes AWOL should be treated as a prisoner. "Well actually it makes me feel better that they have him in captivity here on United States soil but he does pose a threat. We don't have any knowledge of what he's been doing over there," says Zarrel Morales.

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