WASHINGTON, May 20 (Xinhuanet) — A US Army’s criminal investigation report has detailed the brutal treatment of two Afghan detainees by US military interrogators, and their deaths under American military detention, The New York Times reported Friday.
The nearly 2,000-page confidential file, a copy of which was obtained by the newspaper, depicted young, poorly trained US soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse at the Bagram Collection Point, a detention facility some 70 km north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The harsh treatment, which has resulted in criminal charges against seven soldiers, went well beyond the two deaths of Dilawar and Habibullah, the two detainees, in December 2002.
Even when Dilawar, a 22-year-old taxi driver, was dying, his American jailers continued to torment him, the Times report said.
Dilawar was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived at the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.
At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force Dilawar to his knees, but his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him, but the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling when he was finally sent back to his cell.
Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Dilawar, who was already dead by then. Army investigators later learned that most of the interrogators had believed Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time, The New York Times report said.
In some instances, the harsh treatment was directed or carried out by interrogators to extract information, and in others, it was punishment meted out by military police guards, testimony showed. Sometimes, the torment seemed to have been driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both, according to report.
Last October, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command concluded that there was probable cause to charge 27 officers and enlisted personnel with criminal offenses in the Dilawar case ranging from dereliction of duty to maiming and involuntary manslaughter. Fifteen of the same soldiers were also cited for probable criminal responsibility in the Habibullah case.
So far, only the seven soldiers have been charged, but no one has been convicted in either death, the report said. Enditem