US soldier not guilty in Afghan prisoner abuse case

[JURIST] A military jury acquitted US Army Sgt. Alan J. Driver Thursday on charges of prisoner abuse [JURIST report] at Bagram Control Point [Global Security backgrounder, JURIST news archive] in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive]. Driver was the last of 11 soldiers from 377 Military Police Company [backgrounder] to be charged in connection with allegations of prisoner abuse at the Afghan facility. The jury deliberated for only fifteen minutes to consider evidence presented during the one day trial, including a receipt showing that one of the prisoners in question had been released before an alleged incident occurred. Witness testimony was also considered weak as one witness testified that he never saw Driver mistreat anyone.

The charges stem from a US Army investigation [press release] initiated after the deaths of two prisoners within days of one another in December 2002. Though the cases have been ruled homicides, no one has been charged with the deaths. Of the 11 soldiers charged, 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], and three - including an officer, Capt. Christopher M. Beiring - had the charges against them ultimately dropped [JURIST report]. AP has more.

 

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