Dozens of members of Congress have demanded the immediate release of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller after he was jailed for defying orders to stop publicly criticizing the nation’s Afghanistan withdrawal.
Scheller, 40, was arrested and jailed at the Camp Lejeune brig Monday for allegedly breaking four military laws by refusing orders to stop posting critical videos on social media.
He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance in North Carolina today at 3.30pm, but the public – including elected officials and the media – are prohibited from attending.
The lack of transparency isn’t sitting well with the non-partisan Justice Warriors Caucus, an official congressional group that advocates for service members who’ve been unjustly incarcerated.
The military is increasingly cracking down on service members’ behavior. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller (pictured) was relieved after he posted a video to Facebook critical of higher up military leadership
‘We believe that the military is trying to do this behind closed doors without proper oversight,’ Derrick Miller, executive director of the caucus, told Dailymail.com. ‘There’s nothing that prohibits people from being admitted to this court procedure.
‘The fact that they’re trying to do this behind closed doors should be concerning to every American.’
A military spokesman told Dailymail.com that private proceedings are ‘standard for Initial Review Hearings.’
At least 36 congressmembers have signed a letter calling for Scheller’s release in an initiative led by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who said the Marine’s imprisonment ‘appears to be for messaging, retribution, and convenience.’
Among the signatories are Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, Bill Posey, Buddy Carter, and Bob Good.
Scheller’s commander is obliged under law to reasonably justify his imprisonment within 72 hours, Gohmert said in his letter to Marine Corps. Commandant Gen. David H. Berger.
‘Given his excellent record and more than 15 years of dedicated service, we do not believe and have seen no evidence that LTC Sheller poses a grave risk of criminal misconduct,’ Gohmert wrote.
‘For the aforementioned reasons we request that LTC Scheller be released from pretrial confinement and be housed in the least restrictive form of housing.
Scheller, based in North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, was three years from retirement when he posted a scathing video criticizing superiors on August 26, the same day that the 13 US troops were killed in Kabul.
After being ordered to stop posting on social media, he again tore into military and civilian leadership in a Facebook post on Saturday, inviting commanding officers to throw him in the brig.