The U.S. Army has postponed the planned discharge of an 11-year Green Beret who confronted an alleged child rapist in Afghanistan in order to give him a chance to appeal.
An army spokesman said Tuesday that Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland will be given 60 days to file an appeal with the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records.
“While the material in Sgt. Martland's file required that he be considered by the QMP (Qualitative Management Program) board, it is our desire to ensure every soldier receives fairness and due process and we continue to act accordingly,” the spokesman said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he spoke with Army Secretary John McHugh regarding the Martland case and expressed his view the discharge should be delayed until he can prepare an appeal with adequate military counsel.
"Congress cannot substitute our judgement for that of the military chain of command. We are, however, responsible for ensuring that the processes in place are fair and adequate to the demands of an Army at war," he said. "In my review of SFC Martland's case, I noted potential procedural errors in due process."
Earlier this year, Martland was ordered discharged by Nov. 1. He has been fighting to stay in, but in an initial decision, the U.S. Army Human Resources Command told Martland last month that his appeal “does not meet the criteria” for an appeal.
As first reported by Fox News, while deployed to Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, Martland and his team leader confronted a local police commander in 2011 accused of raping an Afghan boy and beating his mother. When the man laughed off the incident, they shoved him to the ground.
Martland and his team leader were later removed from the base, and eventually sent home from Afghanistan.
The U.S. Army has not confirmed the specifics of Martland's separation from service citing privacy reasons, but a “memorandum of reprimand” from October 2011 obtained by Fox News makes clear that Martland was criticized by the brass for his intervention after the alleged rape.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.