It’s Official: Penalty for Prolonged Torture is Demotion

Torture gains ground when official condemnation of it is less than absolute.
(Amnesty International).

In case you missed it, as of last week, the sentences and verdicts from the Afgani torture cases have been delivered.

In El Paso/Fort Bliss last week, here’s what the sentence was for Willie Brand was (according to the Houston Chronicle).

The most serious charges were levied against Pfc. Willie V. Brand, a reservist and military police officer, who initially was charged with Dilawar’s death. A military jury convicted Brand last week of assault, maltreatment, maiming and making a false official statement. The same jury spared Brand jail time, instead ordering that he be reduced in rank and pay to a private, the Army’s lowest rank.

(another summary here. )

Tim Golden’s account of the victim in May (as summarized by a blogger):

Dilawar was a shy, frail, uneducated cab driver who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time — driving past a base that had been the target of a rocket attack earlier in the day. He was arrested by Afghan militiamen who turned him over to the Americans. This past
February, the commander of that militia was himself arrested. He is suspected of attacking the base and turning over innocent men like Dilawar to the Americans in order to curry favor with our military. Before Dilawar’s final interrogation, the one that finally killed him, most of the interrogators had already realized that he was innocent.

Here’s a March 2005 LA times article Lianne Hart quoting testimony by Brand himself about his actions:

In a Feb. 3, 2004, statement, Brand acknowledged that at another time, he delivered more than 30 knee strikes to Dilawar. Asked what provoked the punishment, Brand told investigators he couldn’t remember. Brand also admitted striking Habibullah in the thighs when he resisted efforts to put a hood on his head. “Allah, Allah, Allah,” Brand
recalled Habibullah crying.

Dilawar died from “blunt force trauma to the lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease,” Rouse said. Habibullah died of a pulmonary embolism apparently formed in his legs from the beatings. Army investigator Angela Birt said that delivering knee strikes was so routine for Brand that “the two [detainees] didn’t stick out in his mind because he couldn’t remember how many he had struck.”

Brand’s lawyer, John Galligan, said outside the courtroom that “everything that was done was done in order to perform his mission.. I’m greatly disturbed a young soldier like Brand who, responding to his country’s call, does what he thinks is right and we turn around and place him on the criminal docket.”

( A copy of the original NYT article about the abuse by military
soldiers. A NYT followup on the military investigation is reprinted here).

In the last week, the main culprits have pled guilty to lesser offenses. According to wikipedia , Here’s what a military jury in Texas gives you if you torture a prisoner:

Spc. Brian E. Cammack
Crime: Abuse
Sentence: Three months in prison, and a bad-conduct discharge.

Pfc. Willie Brand
Crime: Assault, maltreatment, maiming and making a false official statement.
Sentence: A reduction in rank and pay to a private.
Admitted to assaulting Dilawar over 30 times in the legs.

Sgt. Selena Salcedo
Crime: Assault, maltreatment, maiming and making a false official statement.
Sentence: A reduction in rank and pay to a private.

Spc. Joshua Claus
Crime: Dereliction of duty and assault
Sentence: Demoted, given a letter of reprimand and ordered to forfeit $250 a month for four months.

Spc. Glendale Walls
Crime: Dereliction of duty and assault
Sentence: Two months in prison, reduced in rank and pay and a bad-conduct discharge.
Admitted to pushing Dilawar against a wall. He also admitted doing nothing to prevent other soldiers at the US base at Bagram from abusing him.