< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Investigation Reveals Concealment of Detainee Deaths in Afghanistan

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Investigation Reveals Concealment of Detainee Deaths in Afghanistan

The Los Angeles Times just printed a special investigative report about the concealment of two detainee deaths in Afghanistan by an Army National Guard Unit. The report is pretty disturbing not just for the brutality, but also because it was covered up for so long. Below is part of the article:

Apparently unknown to Army officials, two detainees had died in the team's custody in separate incidents during the unit's final month in eastern Afghanistan. Several other detainees allege that they were badly beaten or tortured while held at the base in Gardez. One victim, an unarmed peasant, was shot to death while being held for questioning after a fierce firefight. The other, an 18-year-old Afghan army recruit, died after being interrogated at the firebase. Descriptions of his injuries were consistent with severe beatings and other abuse. A member of the Special Forces team told The Times his unit held a meeting after the teen's death to coordinate their stories should an investigation arise. "Everybody on the team had knowledge of it," the soldier said, insisting on anonymity. "You just don't talk about that stuff in the Special Forces community. What happens downrange stays downrange…. Nobody wants to get anybody in trouble. Just sit back, and hope it will go away." What distinguishes these two fatalities from scores of other questionable deaths in U.S. custody is that they were successfully concealed — not just from the American public but from the military's chain of command and legal authorities. The deaths came to light only after an investigation by The Times and a nonprofit educational organization, the Crimes of War Project, led the Army to open criminal inquiries on the incidents. Two years later, the cases remain under investigation and no charges have been filed.

Click here to read the full report.

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