Soldier faces trial on Afghan prisoner abuse charges

[JURIST] Trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday in El Paso, TX for Sgt. Alan J. Driver, a reservist accused of abusing prisoners at Bagram Control Point [Global Security profile; JURIST news archive] in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive]. He is the last soldier in a group [JURIST report] of 11 from the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company [backgrounder] to go up for trial in connection with the alleged maltreatment of two prisoners - Habibullah [Wikipedia backgrounder] and Omar al-Farouq - who later died within days of one another; a US Army investigation [Army press release] was initiated shortly afterwards in December 2002.

Of the 11 soldiers subject to prosecution, two pleaded guilty [JURIST report] and served short sentences before being dishonorably discharged, one was convicted [JURIST report] but spared a prison sentence, four were acquitted [JURIST report on acquittals of three], and three - including an officer, Captain Christopher M. Beiring - had the cases against them ultimately dropped [JURIST report]. While none of the soldiers has actually been prosecuted for the prisoners' deaths, the cases have been ruled homicides. Driver has denied the abuse charges and claims he acted in self-defense or out of necessity for his job. AP has more.



 

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