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U.S. soldiers abused Afghan prisoners till death
from Al Jazeera
Entered into the database on Saturday, March 12th, 2005 @ 21:17:05 MST


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The New York Times reported Saturday that two Afghan prisoners held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan in 2002 died after being chained up, kicked and beaten by American soldiers.

The newspaper cited Army criminal investigative reports obtained by Human Rights Watch that have not yet been made public.

One soldier, Pfc. Willie V. Brand, was charged with manslaughter in a closed hearing last month in Texas in connection with one of the deaths in Afghanistan, another Army document showed.

Brand, who acknowledged striking a detainee named Dilawar 37 times, was accused of killing him after maiming him over a five-day period by "destroying his leg muscle tissue with repeated unlawful knee strikes," according to the Times.

The attacks on Dilawar were so severe that "even if he had survived, both legs would have had to be amputated," the Army report said, citing a medical examiner.

The reports provide the first official account of events that led to the death of Dilawar and another detainee, Mullah Habibullah, at the Bagram Control Point near Kabul.

The deaths occurred nearly a year before the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq became public knowledge.

The reports, from the Army Criminal Investigation Command, also make clear that the abuse at Bagram went far beyond the two killings, the Times said.

Among those recommended for prosecution is an Army military interrogator who is said to have "placed his penis along the face" of one Afghan detainee and later to have "simulated anally sodomizing him (over his clothes)."

The Army reports cited "credible information" that four military interrogators assaulted Dilawar and another Afghan prisoner with "kicks to the groin and leg, shoving or slamming him into walls/table, forcing the detainee to maintain painful, contorted body positions during interview and forcing water into his mouth until he could not breathe."

U.S. military officials in Afghanistan initially said the deaths of Habibullah, in an isolation cell on Dec. 4, 2002, and Dilawar, in another such cell six days later, were from natural causes.

But after an investigation, the Army acknowledged the deaths were homicide, The New York Times said.