U.S. soldier jailed for Afghan abuses

Al Jazeera

9/29/2005 4:35:00 PM GMT

A U.S. interrogator was sentenced to 5 months in jail for assaulting a detainee in Afghanistan.

A U.S. army interrogator has been sentenced to five months in jail for assaulting a detainee who later died at a military base in Afghanistan, BBC reported.

Sgt Joshua Claus was the sixth U.S. soldier to be convicted or plead guilty to abusing prisoners following the deaths of two detainees at the Bagram Airfield detention centre, outside Kabul, in 2002.

In all, charges were filed against 14 U.S. troops.

The Afghan government expressed its disappointment over the leniency of earlier sentences.

Punishments have ranged from two months in prison to a reduction in rank.


Sgt Claus pleaded guilty to maltreatment and assault, and to forcing an unidentified Muslim detainee to roll on the ground and kiss his boots, according to The Associated Press news agency. His sentence included a bad conduct discharge from the military.

Forcing someone to kiss boots or feet is considered a strong insult in the Islamic religion.

Sgt Claus told the judge he knew he was humiliating the prisoners.

“It was extremely humiliating,” he said. “I was telling him he was lower than dirt.”

The military intelligence soldier claims that the abuses were caused by frustrations during interrogations.

He also admitted forcing water down the throat of a 22-year-old prisoner known as Dilawar and twisting a hood over his head.

Dilawar, a taxi driver, and another inmate identified as Habibullah died at the military base in 2002.

No one has been charged with causing their deaths.

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