WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The families of three U.S. Army Special Forces members murdered at the King Faisal Air Base in Jordan in 2016 filed a federal lawsuit accusing the kingdom of Jordan of complicity in the alleged terrorist incident and of attempting to cover it up, the families' lawyers at Motley Rice LLC said today.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the parents and siblings of Sergeant First Class Matthew Charles Lewellen, Staff Sergeant Kevin Joseph McEnroe, Staff Sergeant James Francis Moriarty, and the fiancées of SFC Lewellen and SSG McEnroe. The Gold Star families are represented by Robert T. Haefele, Michael E. Elsner, and John M. Eubanks of Motley Rice.
The men served in U.S. military and intelligence operations to train and equip opposition fighters in Syria's ongoing civil war. Deployed from Fort Campbell, Ky., SFC Lewellen, SSG McEnroe, and SSG Moriarty were members of the U.S. Army's Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (SFOD-A). Their four-vehicle convoy was ambushed on Nov. 4, 2016, at an air base checkpoint as they returned from a routine day of training. The shooter, Ma'Arek Al-Tawayha, also known as Abu Tayeh, was a Jordanian military first sergeant on duty at the checkpoint guard post.
According to the complaint, "Their families seek justice for their unnecessary deaths and believe that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan aided and abetted this terrorist act by seeking to silence the families and hiding behind the defense that the Jordanian soldier who hunted down and brutally murdered their loved ones was acting within internationally accepted rules of engagement."
The lawsuit alleges that the Government of Jordan, using the state news agency Petra, "initiated a deceitful defense strategy that falsely defended Defendant Abu Tayeh's actions as justified within the rules of engagement" in murdering SFC Lewellen, SSG McEnroe, and SSG Moriarty. "In addition, the story depicted by Defendant Jordan in defending Defendant Abu Tayeh's actions changed and evolved during the months after the assault on the SFOD-A members," according to the lawsuit.
John M. Eubanks of Motley Rice, said, "We allege that by continuing to defend the actions of the shooter, the Government of Jordan was complicit in his act of terrorism. We believe video of the assault showed clearly that this assault was not 'accidental' or within the rules of engagement. This lawsuit is intended to hold Jordan and its soldier accountable for this attack and ensure that the world knows what truly happened to Sergeants Lewellen, McEnroe and Moriarty."
According to the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. is Jordan's single largest provider of bilateral assistance, providing over $1.7 billion in 2017, including $1.3 billion in bilateral foreign assistance and over $200 million in Department of Defense support.
The lawsuit alleges violations of U.S. and international law, and asserts that the Government of Jordan aided, abetted and conspired with Abu Tayeh in his commission of terrorism and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the Gold Star families. Abu Tayeh also is accused of violating the federal Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991.
"Defendant Abu Tayeh's mother claims that Defendant Jordan gave Defendant Abu Tayeh a promotion and a medal following his murder of the three SFOD-A members. In short, Defendant Jordan rewarded Defendant Abu Tayeh for murdering three American soldiers in cold blood," according to the lawsuit.
The case is "James R. Moriarty, et al., v. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Ma'Arek Al-Tawayha a/k/a 'Abu Tayeh'," Case No. 1:18-cv-02649 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, [email protected], 281.703.6000.
SOURCE Motley Rice LLC and Powers MediaWorks LLC