Afghan Prison Deaths Linked to Abu Ghraib

The U.S.has been investigating the deaths of two prisoners at Bagram Collection Point in Afghanistan in 2002. It turns out that there are links between military intelligence officers at the Bagram detention facility and Abu Graib.

For both of the Afghan prisoners, who died in a center known as the Bagram Collection Point, the cause of death listed on certificates signed by American pathologists included blunt force injuries to their legs. Interrogations at the center were supervised by Company A, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, which moved on early in 2003 to Iraq, where some of its members were assigned to the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at Abu Ghraib. Its service in Afghanistan was known, but its work at Bagram at the time of the deaths has now emerged in interviews with former prisoners, military officials and from documents.

....In Iraq, at least three members of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion who had been assigned to the joint interrogation center at Abu Ghraib have been quietly disciplined for conduct involving the abuse of a female Iraqi prisoner there, an Army spokesman said....At least one officer, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, served in supervisory positions at the interrogation units both at the Bagram Collection Point from July 2002 to December 2003 and then again at the joint center at Abu Ghraib, according to Army officials.

Two other prisoners, who survived Bagram and were sent to Guantanamo, and were later released after the U.S. determined they had done nothing wrong (and provided them with letters to that effect) described their treatment at Bagram:

Two men arrested with one of the prisoners who died in the Bagram Detention Center that month said in southeastern Afghanistan on Sunday that they were tortured and sexually humiliated by their American jailers; they said they were held in isolation cells, black hoods were placed over their heads, and their hands at times were chained to the ceiling. "The 10 days that we had was a very bad time," said Zakim Shah, a 20-year-old farmer and a father of two who said he felt he would not survive at times. "We are very lucky."

The account provided by the two men was consistent with those of other former Afghan prisoners, including those interviewed by The New York Times and cited in reports by human rights officials....Within days after the deaths of the two prisoners in Afghanistan in December 2002, both were ruled homicides by American military doctors in Afghanistan. But in a public statement at the time, the military described at least one death as the result of natural causes.

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