Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Deaths of 9 prisoners being probed

AP , WASHINGTON

A boy points a toy gun at a British soldier securing the site where a home-made bomb was found and defused yesterday in Basra, Iraq.

PHOTO: AFP

Authorities are investigating the deaths of at least nine prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan that doctors classified as homicides.

The medical findings mean the deaths were linked to the actions of another person; however, that doesn't necessarily mean the deaths were criminal in nature, military officials said Friday.

A 10th prisoner death, also determined a homicide, already has been resolved. Officials said that in September last year, a soldier shot and killed a prisoner in Iraq who threw rocks at him. The soldier was punished and dismissed from the Army for using excessive force.

The 10 cases are among the most serious probed by the Army's Criminal Investigation Division since August 2002. The Army has looked into at least 37 detainee deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior military official said Friday, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity.

There may be more deaths outside the Army's purview, the official acknowledged.

The nine prisoner homicides apparently under investigation:

? Abdul Jaleel, 46, who died Jan. 9 at Forward Operating Base Rifles near Al Asad, Iraq. He died of "blunt force injuries and asphyxia."

? Major-General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a former commander of Saddam Hussein's air defenses, who died Nov. 26, last year, during interrogation at Qaim, Iraq. His death may have involved a CIA officer who is an interrogator. Doctors attributed his death to "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression."

? Manadel Al-Jamadi, who was being held at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison in which the well-known abuse of prisoners took place. He died Nov. 4, last year, of "blunt force injuries complicated by compromised respiration," doctors said. Two CIA personnel, an officer and a contract translator, were present when he died. The agency and Justice Department are investigating.

? Abdul Wali, a prisoner at Asadabad, Afghanistan, who died June 21, last year. The CIA's inspector general is conducting an inquiry into this death; it is unclear whether the Army still is.

? Dilar Dababa, who was being held near Baghdad. He died June 13, last year, of what doctors determined was a head injury.

? An Afghan listed only as Dilawar, 22, held at Bagram, who died Dec. 10, 2002. Doctors attributed his death to "blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease."

? Mullah Habibullah, about 28, an Afghan held at Bagram, who died Dec. 3, 2002. Doctors attributed his death to "pulmonary embolism due to blunt force injuries to the legs."

? Two additional deaths of unidentified prisoners, at least one of which occurred in Iraq.

In addition to those, investigators determined that at least eight more deaths at prisons in Iraq were justifiable homicides. These were in four incidents at prisons in Iraq, in which a soldier had reason to use deadly force on a dangerously violent or fleeing prisoner, officials said.

The deaths of 15 more prisoners were attributed to natural causes.

The senior official also described three more deaths that took place outside US detention facilities and remain under investigation.

One involved a soldier who shot and killed an Afghan who had lunged toward a weapon, the official said. Another was an Iraqi who drowned after a US soldier forced him off a bridge.

In a third case, a soldier shot and killed an Iraqi when he lunged at another soldier, the official said.

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