Va. Judge Orders Release of Veteran Detained Over Facebook Posts

Prince George County Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharrett ordered the release of former Marine  Brandon J. Raub, who was being held and forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation after making posts on his Facebook page calling into question the official story of 911 and alluding to an impending revolution.

Sharrett said that the involuntary commitment order issued by a magistrate against Raub was invalid because it contained no allegation or basis to hold him. Raub was released from the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center late Thursday and was on his way back to his home in the Richmond area, a Rutherford Institute spokeswoman said.

Raub served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was taken into custody Aug. 16 after being questioned by Chesterfield County police and federal agents about his Facebook posts. The FBI said the interview was prompted by complaints from people who read his posts.

“Brandon Raub was arrested with no warning, targeted for doing nothing more than speaking out against the government, detained against his will, and isolated from his family, friends and attorneys,” Rutherford Institute executive director John Whitehead said. “These are the kinds of things that take place in totalitarian societies. Today, at least, Judge Allan Sharrett proved that justice can still prevail in America.” The civil liberties organization represented the 26-year-old veteran.

He called Raub’s release a victory for the First Amendment.

“People a have right to go on Facebook or the Internet (and) say things that people might not agree with, “Whitehead added. “But that doesn’t mean they’re crazy or should be incarcerated for it.”

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