Sergeant Mark Leader, 18 years honorable service in the Royal Marine Commandos, says he acted in self-defense against a ‘dangerous and violent prisoner’.
A Court Martial heard how Sergeant Leader and his company commander Captain Wheelhouse burst into a tent where 48-year-old Ekhlas was being held and struck him around the head with a rubber boot, causing a cut lip, two loosened teeth and facial bruising.
The court rejected SGT Leader’s defense that he was trying to stop the man from escaping.
Sergeant Leader's character references speak of ‘calm maturity’ and described by colleagues as ‘a man of integrity’; his exemplary and unblemished record counted for nothing when set against a regrettable but relatively minor assault on an Afghan prisoner.
The Afghan was caught red-handed planting IEDs, and soon after the incident he was released by the Afghan police. A known terrorist is free to go back to what he’s doing - planting IED's and claiming the lives of NATO troops. Meanwhile, a good man's career of 18 years has come to an end.
Leader's own words:
"It was a split-second judgment call and the whole thing lasted about two or three seconds. I may have drawn the wrong conclusion but, given the same circumstances, seeing what I saw, I’d do the same again without hesitation."
Read the whole story here and judge for yourself.