News24

SA man embroiled in bizarre US court case

2010-12-26 17:00

Johannesburg - A South African contractor working in Afghanistan has been arrested and spirited away across the world under a controversial United States law.

Sean Brehm, 44, arrived in the US on Tuesday and is being held near ­Washington.

Brehm, who ran a VIP ­protection company in Cape Town and who had been working in Afghanistan since October last year, was arrested at the ­Kandahar Air Force Base last month after allegedly stabbing and severely wounding a British contractor in a dispute.

At the time, Brehm was ­employed as a travel consultant for US department of defence contractor DynCorp.

Brehm was held for more than three weeks by military police before being extradited to the US under the Military ­Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.

The act gives the US ­extraordinary and far-reaching powers to prosecute contractors ­employed by the department of defence or by companies with department of defence contracts – including foreign nationals – and to try them in the US for crimes committed in other countries.

Brehm’s wife, Carol, last week claimed that her husband had been treated unfairly. “How can you take somebody to a country they have never been to without having given them any prior warning?”

'Bad blood'


She said there had been “bad blood” between her husband and the British contractor for a “long time, apparently over a woman”.

Carol claimed her husband had tried to avoid the fight and to call the military police before being “chased down” and ­attacked.

In an affidavit filed in the US court, FBI special agent Viet Nguyen said the British contractor and Brehm had a “verbal ­altercation” and came to blows.

An army criminal investigations division agent had ­witnessed Brehm stabbing the other contractor twice, injuring him in the arm and abdomen.

One witness, described as a “previous acquaintance” of Brehm, said he believed Brehm had been acting in self-defence.

In a hearing via telephone on December 10, a US federal ­magistrate ordered Brehm be “removed” to the US to stand trial.

Brehm appeared briefly in court on Tuesday and was transferred into federal custody. He has yet to be formally charged and the US government has 30 days in which to seek an indictment from a secret grand jury.

Frantic


Meanwhile, his wife is frantic.

 “Sean’s ability to mount an ­effective defence is so impaired that it is highly reminiscent of something out of the Star Chamber (a pejorative term for secret and arbitrary court ­proceedings),” she charged.

Department of international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the department would be providing consular services to Brehm and his family.

Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau, spokesperson for the US embassy in Pretoria, said that in ­instances where foreign nationals were extradited to the US to stand trial, the embassy “works very closely with our host country’s law enforcement agencies”.

Michael Nachmanoff, a federal public defender representing Brehm, declined to comment.

Comments
  • Exunitate - 2010-12-26 17:16

    This will be cowboy justice in all it's glory.

      daaivark - 2011-04-13 08:30

      On what do you base this earthshaking observation?

  • luciano - 2010-12-26 17:37

    arg,America think they the perfect nation.

      Jacques - 2010-12-26 17:48

      "think" yeah.

      JimBean@24.com - 2010-12-27 09:17

      If they only knew what the rest of the world thinks of them...

      LUFC - 2010-12-27 18:14

      you mean USA..

  • lmduplessis - 2010-12-26 17:44

    Well, i guess he shouldn't have stabbed the other guy during a "dispute" then. Oh, no, wait, thats the South African culture. When you don't get what you want you turn voilent. And maybe he should have read the fine-print before taking the job.

  • MP3 - 2010-12-26 17:47

    There are several things here that are odd... He stabbed a british citizen Supposedly in self defence But is being tried in america? His lawyer declining to comment? Surely a lawyer trying to do things in the best interests of the accused would trump up some media outcry over such a travesty? Arguing about a lady? Bizarre!!!! Something very wrong here...

      ricsmi33 - 2010-12-27 00:10

      you forgot the more odd thing. He stabbed him twice. Who stabs somebody twice in selfdefence.

      ricsmi33 - 2010-12-27 00:10

      most odd*

      danie.hanekom - 2010-12-27 05:57

      Just some info, self defence training does include stopping your attacker the first time, even if it means stabbing a person more than once. One martial art actually teaches you to do as much harm as possible, but I am not saying what he did was right, there other ways of doing it as well. We don't know what really happened.........like someone said, there is his version, the other guys version and the truth. lol

      Zion - 2010-12-27 07:18

      The guy was employed indirectly by the yanks so he falls under their jurisdiction.

      Ashoka - 2010-12-27 10:11

      I am also puzzled as to "arguing over a woman"?

      daaivark - 2011-04-13 08:33

      And weird that his wife mentions the "lady" angle in her statement. Look, the man was undoubtedly a mercenary and use of brute force is basic behaviour in people that kill for money. I find the situation seriously muddied and who knows what led up to it, but do I sympathise? No.

  • E.Andlau - 2010-12-26 18:01

    America sanctions South Africa, minorities loose their power in the workplace, minorities end up in Afghanistan for jobs, minorities loose their mind and stab someone, America plays the judge ... makes perfect sense to me.

      Edgar - 2010-12-27 06:09

      @cyjm317 you are a twat. You have no idea what you are rambling on about. in all probability been put in a job somewhere, for which you are unqualified and now have access to the internet to sprout forth your bullshit. Get over it you and your people are unable to run a country or anything else for that matter.

      Zion - 2010-12-27 07:24

      cyjm 317, Do your self a favour, buy yourself a christmas gift then read up the American history of racism. White yanks are far more racist than his/her SA counterpart. Never take Hollywood and all that gung-ho to heart. Congratulations and seasonal greetings and the ability to throw in the race card, how will I say-Yes crudely.

      JimBean@24.com - 2010-12-27 09:21

      cyjm317, you speak so much garbage I believe you are a troll...

      Jerzy - 2010-12-27 11:33

      I see nothing in this article to indicate Brehm's guilt or innocence, we will have to wait for justice to take it's course. As for America, it's foreign policy is and has always been for the benefit of America, the policy of the South African government cannot laid at America's door. With cyjm317, this person is unfortunate not to have been born a relative of some person presently in a position to get cyjm317's snout into the trough of tax and rate payers money and seems very bitter about that. If you have talent and skills send your cv to a few global companies just like those people you call worth nothing did, see how many job offers you get. Because my skin is white I cannot be expected after sixteen years of a new regime to take the blame for that regimes failure. I think that sixteen years is long enough to educate the previously disadvantaged to properly manage the day to day running and maintenance of our countries infrastructure.

      Heracles - 2010-12-27 12:03

      @cyjm317 ....I wonder who was backing South Africa during the Angola war and what the reason was for that war. Do your self a huge favour and research before you open your pie hole again. You will find who the real culprits were and who were just doing the dirty work.

  • Pedro - 2010-12-26 18:23

    USA, USA uber alles. Are they any different?

  • allie - 2010-12-26 19:16

    America with their "forced democracy"is the cause of most of the problems in this world.Wait until the scale tips for them too,they will find they have very few friends

      Mundu - 2010-12-27 16:29

      America the bold, don't care what you hope may happen.

  • Carolyn - 2010-12-26 19:37

    I feel for his family, it is not easy to get a job here, and his possibly only chance at supporting his family was to go to Afganistan, People fight, and some fight rough, but this is not the way to treat him, and to fight over a woman, stupid. What would you do if you all were in the same situation, There is just no employment for white South Africans here and to be away from home for 4 months at a time away from loved one's can cause a lonely man to wander, You must agree, he should be sent home, and that should be the end of the matter.

      moiraine - 2010-12-27 07:50

      No, he should be tried and sentenced for what he has done. The trouble is, where? If it was my son working away from home who was stabbed and injured I wouldnt say oh its okay, people fight and some fight rough. He comitted a crime he needs to pay for it.

      AJ - 2010-12-28 07:04

      @moraine 'He committed a crime' - really? I think that is the whole point of the court case, to find out whether he did or not? Do you have some evidence we dont? Perhaps he needs to be found 'Not Guilty' and release. How about that?

      daaivark - 2011-04-13 08:37

      @ AJ. There is little doubt that the man was a mercenary. According to current SA law it is a crime to recruit mercenaries in SA, and it is also a crime for an SA citizen to work as a mercenary. So he had already committed that crime. I agree with Moiraine.

  • Upya - 2010-12-26 19:48

    I ageree with MP3, something weird here this story as reported does not seem to make much sense. I also think that we are in for a demonstration of real democracy USA style, especially since their military are invoved. Look out for lots of smoke and mirrors, obfuscation and blatant arrogant deception.

  • Bob Norris - 2010-12-26 20:21

    The USA are a law unto themselves and as a supporter of Obama I thought we 'might' see change - but how much control does even he have. The sooner the US crumbles the sooner we might return to just a semblence of democracy. You know where Govt. is the servant of the people rather than the other way around???

  • Seth - 2010-12-26 20:35

    Let me just say this, I'm also a SA working here in AFGH, when you come over here you are clearly explained the rules. Note it is mentioned that if you break the law and it's a violent crime you can be extradited to the US for criminal charges. Thus being said, all these SA guys that work for security here have attitudes and think they are all the main manna. So I can just see where this lead to and wish the man the best of luck, US law is not like our crap law back home they will try and prosecute firstly and effectively if he is guilty.

      Heracles - 2010-12-27 11:53

      @ Seth You are an Idiot. Dont generalise people, I also work in AFG and you are talking crap, South Africans over here are more humble than most of their American and Brittish counterparts, and are also regularly being requested for by certain clients because of this. I know some guys with shitty attitudes but they are from all over. You are probably a 'office joby' and gets intimidated by the guys out there doing the real job. (some controlled aggresion is needed to be able to work in this type inviroment). But I agree, let justice follow its path!

  • pieterdutoit47 - 2010-12-26 23:51

    Quickest way to get a trip to USA without a visa.

      secondstar - 2010-12-27 00:04

      that visa only allows a prison stay

      danie.hanekom - 2010-12-27 06:00

      Good one..lol

  • Francois - 2010-12-27 07:45

    I am a bit stupid, sorry. Maybe somebody can help. This man went to Afghanistan to work for the Yanks, most probably for a load of dollars. Did he expect to find a working legal system there? Is it not a case that he took a risk for the loads of dollars and it somehow did not pay off (no pun intended) and now he wants justice? As far as my knowledge goes you fall under the jurisdiction of the country in which you are as well, otherwise Austrian paedophile will be visiting other parts of the worls along with Roman Catholic priest (maybe the priest can convert them) and they don't face prosecution. Lady, your husband's arrest goes with the territory, don't try and claim justice now. Rather enjoy your smart house and car he bought with the money.

      secondstar - 2010-12-27 08:57

      no smart house and no car Francois. and just by the way and for your information, Guantamo Bay? Wikileaks? go and read up about it all....same kind of stuff. and yes you are a bit stupid. Why does everyone have the perception that people who give up their family lives, to work in war zones , because they HAVE to make ends meet, after losing a house and a car , are pulling in the bucks. It is not true, and some of the rest of you.....why don't you make sure you know all the facts before giving comments that are tantamount to hate speech,...bringing race into it, for goodness sake. wake up. Thank you to all that have seen that there is smoke and there are mirrors, and this is something else besides a brawl that ended badly.

      Savage - 2010-12-27 11:47

      The man worked for Dyncorp on a US military base in Afghanistan and is therefore subject to the laws of the USA....it's that simple.

      Heracles - 2010-12-27 11:59

      @Francois..... Stupid!! You are missing the point, the man has not been proven guilty of any crime yet and he needs to defend his case in court, without resources or any assitance. That is the point!!(P.S. Brits love stabbing people with knifes, it part of their culture, so do not believe the Brit is that innocent)

      Francois - 2010-12-27 13:07

      Sorry secondstar, please help me - which part was tantamount to hate speech?

      Francois - 2010-12-27 13:11

      Sorry Heracles, he is subject to the laws where he worked. If he did not like the laws he should not have been working there. It is a war zone, the fact that the US military is there is kind of proof to that - will you not agree? Now are they (the yanks) going to stop the war and say oops we need to give everyone a chance to defend himself, okay that is finished, he defended himself- let the B52s fly again?

      secondstar - 2010-12-28 11:13

      a word of advice dear Francois. You need to learn to read things carefully a couple of times, before flying off the handle and just replying. You need to give careful thought about what you say and how. the hate speech was referring to other people, and if you read it again you will see that. I wonder if you were standing face to face with Mrs Brehm, whether you would have the courage to say the things you are saying. You should think about whether the family read these comments, and how much they might affect a family already in distress. Are you a Christian? If so, you might want to look at this from a different perspective. Heracles is quite right, and thank you tankme for your comments to put a different perspective on this. Did you see the incident?

      Heracles - 2010-12-28 12:05

      Well I gues Francios is just jealous because he is not earning ' loads of dollars' ,you actually know nothing about how things work over here, I can see that in your senseless comments. I hope you get jailed in SA ,then you can test out our 'working legal system'.

      Francois - 2010-12-28 20:22

      Sorry secondstar, it now seems (thanks to tankme) that the allegation of Brehm having an affair with someone else's wife is true. The article also states that he was transported to Washington that is not in Cuba - so where did you read about Guantamo (actually I think you meant Guantanamo Bay) - but be that as that may. Please inform me what Gauntamo Bay and Wikileaks have to do with this? The SA government is going to provide support. What may this something else that you are alleging to be? There is a lady that has to support her husband in the USA (that same country that send more than a million people across the Atlantic to fight Nazism), her husband allegedly cheated on her (that according to tankme. Now if you feel strong about your point and you have proof, go give the evidence to Mrs Brehm - I will help you getting there, on the proviso, off course, that you do have evidence that will help her. Mrs Brehm, good luck in these trying times, but unfortunately the rule of law must be upheld. Sorry if I offended you.

      Francois - 2010-12-28 20:37

      Then Heracles, I fully agree that the man should in a normal world have the chance to a fair trial, but he allegedly signed a paper that subjects him to certain rules and those rules give the US army certain rights. The article states that the embassy will provide diplomatic assistance and realy and I am not jealous about your millions, though it is not the point. We cannot all want a "working legal system" and when it does not work out blame the system or make general statements like all Brits like to do knife stabbing, it is the same as to say that all SA expats in Afghanistan like to sleep with the British's wifes. If I am caught on the wrong side of the law, then justice must prevail, even for me, like you correctly stated - thus full marks again. Justice will in the end prevail. However in the interim, do you not think that this whole thing could have been avoided from the beginning? Sorry for another question: How did the press came to hear about this and was this bloated over News24? And why?

  • Renier - 2010-12-27 12:25

    @cyjm317 If you have internet and not using that of the work have a look at this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17m8OnHC7dQ

  • Matt - 2010-12-27 15:26

    For those of you who diss the US, where does he stand a better chance of a fair trial, Afghanistan or the US? Sorry about the job prospects in SA?

  • tankme - 2010-12-27 16:10

    Seeing that I actually work for Dyncorp in Kandahar and actually know this person, I'm not sure why any of you can make comments on the situation. He is being tried by an American court because he is "sponsored" by the United States Army and violated the rules of that sponsorship. They (the US) got him his VISA to the country as well as mine. I really think he's better off on trial in the US where he could get some liberal judge as opposed to being tried here in Kandahar where it would be some sort of military tribunal. If someone was on top of you beating the crap out of you and you stabbed them once, but they didn't stop hitting you - you would stab them again. The SA guy was having an affair with this British guys wife. The fact the guy is British doesn't even play into this since he was also here sponsored by the US government also. BTW, they guy was white and so was the other guy. Lawyers do not make public statements in the US because you can be tried for comtempt of court. America is far from perfect. I should know since I am an American working in Afghanistan due to our crappy economy that spawned this whole recession. Also this base is NOT run by the United States, ICEF (NATO) runs it. The base is due to be turned over to the US, but not until next summer.

      Francois - 2010-12-27 19:43

      Good day tankme - The reason why we can make any comments on the situation is because it is in the news. We can do so because we can reason. We do not need any qualification to make comment, because we have a right to freedom of speech. Having said that, can you please be more specific about your point - what exactly are you saying. Is it perhaps that we don't have a right to say something about a news article or is it perhaps that you are the only qualified to say something because you work with him? I believe that this guy should not have had an affair. That is my opinion without prejudice based on your information above (of which I do not quite get the point). I also believe that if he is in another country, no matter how he got there and who sponsored him, he must follow the rules of that country and of his host. That is also my opinion without prejudice. Based on the fact that he was caught having an affair does not say much about his self control, his brain power and the fact that he got donnered by a Pom does not say too much of his brawn power either. And now his poor family understands why he is going to the US - we as well. Thanks!

      Savage - 2010-12-27 21:34

      Since I am a SA citizen who also worked in Afghanistan......are you not perhaps referring to ISAF instead of ICEF??????

      Savage - 2010-12-27 21:39

      Secondly, I landed at BAF controlled by the USAF and never required a visa to work in Afghanistan; were the rules changed????????

      Francois - 2010-12-28 16:44

      Good day Carina, unfortunately the facts now speak for themselves. "Without prejudice" is plain English - I will suggest that you look it up in a good dictionary, but be careful to look for the correct spelling - there is no word like perjudice and so by the way, the correct English would be: "I think it is because you are trying to sound clever." Forgetting about the grammar and spelling lesson, it is not because I want to sound clever. Then secondstar, I apologise if I offended you. Will you mind informing me on what the correct Christian view on this will be? As far as my knowledge goes, the Bible specifically forbids adultery, Sixth Commandment. Jesus also says "Pay onto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and unto God what is God's" ie you are to subject yourself to the authorities - or do I have it wrong? I think that it will not help to blame the Yanks for the predicament or go on about on how good or bad they are or how good or bad we are - fact is we all have sinned and are equal before God. In essence this is thus a case where one person cheated on his wife (tankme gave us that bit of info), got caught, ended up in a brawl, was arrested and now it is claimed that something is unfair. Now if you can please help me on the correct approach. I think that this is a case where one cannot rebel against the authorities and should not. I am sure the Yanks will not put the person in Gitmo, but society needs justice and that was also a God ordained principle. Thanks again.

      mike brown - 2011-09-08 04:36

      The accepted story within the realm of the global contracting industry is that Sean Brehm was a loose cannon that had previously been charged with murder and convicted and served time for culpable homicide / manslaughter due to shooting a man dead. Brehm had stated that the individual was armed and had threatened to kill him. It was later discovered via witnesses that the man was innocent, unarmed and at no point threatened Brehm. This man obviously suffers with Bipolar as the rumor at DynCorp is that whist working on KAF Brehm had attempted to committee suicide by over dosing due to being manic-depressive and not being able to cope working away from home and in a hostile environment. Obviously, too much strain for the poor man. He must have been an office worker with little time spent in hostile environments, even thou KAF is the safest Military base in Afghanistan and his job never took him outside the wire.

      mike brown - 2011-09-08 04:38

      It is said that at the time of the stabbing the security contractor was not only carrying luggage in both hands and wearing a back pack but was also not facing Brehm. He had stabbed him in the torso resulting in a punctured collapsed diaphragm, lung and sever internal bleeding and also suffered a near severed armed due to a profound laceration. The ironic thing is, is that even thou Brehm portrayed himself as a tough guy by being sly, spineless and cowardly enough to stab another individual that’s unarmed with his hands full, he still managed to get his ass handed to him. It’s a complete joke. These guys think that they are a complete law unto themselves and when caught, found guilty and incarcerated they cry like a baby and bitch to the world that their being treated unfairly.

      mike brown - 2011-09-08 05:12

      And for those individuals that mention Christianity. What type of man is unfaithful to his wife with another married woman. Not only once, but again before the known affair and again after with another married female coworker in Afghanistan. So, previous time severed for manslaughter, 3 accounts of adultery, “that we know of” and now serving time in a US Federal Prison for stabbing another unarmed man. Wow, what a winner!!!

  • Jakkals911 - 2010-12-28 08:00

    Somwthing about this whole affair stinks to high heaven - but I don't trust the Yanks - or the Brits, for that matter - and I wonder whether we will ever learn the truth. I feel sorry for Brehm's wife, not knowing what lies ahead...

      Francois - 2010-12-28 20:39

      Jakkels911, lets help this lady - come up with some ideas.

  • Robert - 2010-12-31 09:55

    Sean Brehm is a dickhead, and I am personally very happy to see him having to take responsibilities for his actions. I have history with this character, and personally i hope this deeply affects him and his wife in a very negative fashion. Remember 2004, asshole - you thought you were above the law, but now it's your turn..........

      secondstar - 2011-01-04 11:32

      Robert, what did his wife do to you? As far as memory serves, you also thought you were above the law. Wishing others ill has never benefited anyone, be careful what you wish for, it may happen to you. You are a liar and a cheat, and I personally know that for a fact. Be very careful what you say and what you insinuate, before it all comes back and bites your Mr Williamson. Perhaps people would be interested in reading an article in Noseweek from those years ago about you?? People in glass houses should never throw stones. I will find the exact date of the Noseweek article if anyone is interested......

      Robert - 2011-01-11 14:18

      Well, Secondstar, at least I used my own name, and not like you.....I have nothing to hide, so give it your best shot......

  • Pai Grande - 2011-04-13 11:32

    Thank GOD i'm SA's President!

  • Pai Grande - 2011-04-13 11:34

    Thank GOD i'm not SA's President !! American are too emotional!

  • mike brown - 2011-09-08 05:15

    The accepted story within the realm of the global contracting industry is that Sean Brehm was a loose cannon that had previously been charged with murder and convicted and served time for culpable homicide / manslaughter due to shooting a man dead. Brehm had stated that the individual was armed and had threatened to kill him. It was later discovered via witnesses that the man was innocent, unarmed and at no point threatened Brehm. This man obviously suffers with Bipolar as the rumor at DynCorp is that whist working on KAF Brehm had attempted to committee suicide by over dosing due to being manic-depressive and not being able to cope working away from home and in a hostile environment. Obviously, too much strain for the poor man. He must have been an office worker with little time spent in hostile environments, even thou KAF is the safest Military base in Afghanistan and his job never took him outside the wire.

  • mike brown - 2011-09-08 05:15

    It is said that at the time of the stabbing the security contractor was not only carrying luggage in both hands and wearing a back pack but was also not facing Brehm. He had stabbed him in the torso resulting in a punctured collapsed diaphragm, lung and sever internal bleeding and also suffered a near severed armed due to a profound laceration. The ironic thing is, is that even thou Brehm portrayed himself as a tough guy by being sly, spineless and cowardly enough to stab another individual that’s unarmed with his hands full, he still managed to get his ass handed to him. It’s a complete joke. These guys think that they are a complete law unto themselves and when caught, found guilty and incarcerated they cry like a baby and bitch to the world that their being treated unfairly.

  • mike brown - 2011-09-08 05:16

    And for those individuals that mention Christianity. What type of man is unfaithful to his wife with another married woman. Not only once, but again before the known affair and again after with another married female coworker in Afghanistan. So, previous time severed for manslaughter, 3 accounts of adultery, “that we know of” and now serving time in a US Federal Prison for stabbing another unarmed man. Wow, what a winner!!!

  • Nicole - 2011-11-22 01:18

    Mike Brown and Robert Williamson clearly have a chip on their shoulder about Sean Brehm. It seems Robert Williamson got his ass handed to him and after 7 years still cant get over it. As for Mike Brown, you must lead a very boring life having focussed so much energy on Sean Brehm. Mike, Whats your problem that you are spreading all this untrue BS? Is Seam better tooled than you - or is he more of a man? You two are just a pair of wannabees and a pair of classless louts at that. Do you actually eat with those mouths? Sean served time for manslaughter (not murder - you lying little weasel!). He didn't blindside John Osborne who was stupid enough to marry the cheating Dyncorp slut a few months before!! Osborne was looking for a fight for weeks and he got it! Whether Sean had an affair with her or shagged half of Arabia for that matter, that is between him and his wife and you are royal c**ts for discussing such things on this forum. But then again thats what pussies do... and you two are just that! PUSSIES!!!!

  • Ashraf - 2011-11-28 08:14

    It seems some people really dont like Sean at all, this can only mean they either dont know him or they are completely jealous of him. I met Sean in 2002/3 and not once did he ever come across as an @ss. We grew close and he use to pop in often at our supplement shop and chatted for hours about his work and family. He is a humble man and a prankster of note. he does not deserve what has happened, but what can we do as he was tried in a foreign country and our government dont seen to give a rats about our people. Had Sean been black then it would have been another story. Anyways, from what we understand is that this british person that was "attacked", he is just a bloody coward. He innitiated the situation, and all Sean did was protect himself and now he has to pay for doing what he needed to do. Mike brown and Robert Williamson,Try for once to take your heads out of your asses and see the light.

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