In memory of
Dilawar, 22, part-time taxi driver
died on December 13, 2002
during his “interrogation” in the secret U.S. detention center at the Bagram Air Force base. Mr. Dilawar (one name) was a farmer and part-time taxicab driver in Khost. He was arrested and abducted by U.S occupation forces in early December 2002 in Khost while driving his taxi. His body was delivered to his family on January 17, 2003. Two other inmates in the secret jail saw Dilawar, who had a chronic heart problem. Under torture, he was beat in the lower extremities which likely caused his passing away. Prisoners in the 2nd floor Bagram jail (run by the CIA) are forced to stand naked for long hours, hooded, arms chained to the ceiling, having their feet shackled for periods of two weeks. Private Willie Brand of the 377th Military Police Company (Cincinnati, Ohio) maimed and ultimately killed Dilawar over a five-day period “by destroying his leg muscle tissue with repeated unlawful knee strikes” which were so severe that “even if he (Dilawar) had survived, both legs would have had to be amputated” according to an Army investigative (ys!) report. Four military interrogators assaulted Mr. Dilawar with “kicks to the groin and leg, shoving or slamming him into walls/tables, forcing the detainee to maintain painful, contorted body positions….forcing water into his mouth until he could not breathe.” In addition, an Army military interrogator from the 519th Battalion is reported to have “placed his penis along the face” of one Afghan detainee and later to have “simulated anally sodomizing him (over his clothes).” More can be found in Douglas Jehl, “Army Details Scale of Abuse of Prisoners in an Afghan Jail,” New York Times (March 12, 2005).The photo shows Dilawar’s brothers at his grave in Yaqubi, some 140 kms southeast of Kabul, on May 13, 2004 (Reuters stringer photo dated 5/13/04). Please note that the photo was taken and published by the independent news wire agency Reuters (and not the more US-linked Associated Press). The photo on the right side ( Keith Bedford, New York Times) shows Mr. Asaldin holding Bibi Rashida, 3 (in 2005), daughter of his son Dilawar, at home in Yaqoobi, Khost (further details on Dilawar’s murder by American jailers can be found in Tim Golden, “In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates’ Deaths,” New York Times (May 20, 2005) at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/international/asia/20abuse.html?ei=5088&en=4579c146cb14cfd6&ex=1274241600&pagewanted=all ).
In February 2008, the St. Louis-Post Dispatch reported on a new documentary film, Taxi to the Dark Side, about Mr. Dilawar:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
You may never see a more challenging film than "Taxi to the Dark Side." Nominated for an Academy Award as best documentary feature, it makes a frighteningly persuasive case that the soldiers who beat and murdered an Afghan taxi driver were instructed by leaders who have perverted our national values. Even after six years of war, when journalists invoke the words "Abu Ghraib" or "Guantanamo," they're accused of hating America and aiding the terrorists. Yet no one who sees the torture that was meted out to a young man named Dilawar could offer a sane defense of it. After a mortar attack on an American compound, Dilawar was stopped at a checkpoint and sent to a makeshift prison at Bagram Air Base. He was stripped naked, attacked by dogs, hooded, chained in an upright position and periodically beaten to keep him awake. After five days, Dilawar was found dead. The autopsy said his legs had been "pulpified." The death certificate that was accidentally given to his family called it murder. War is a dirty business, and as one of the baby-faced soldiers says in an interview, you can't understand it until you've been there. But director Alex Gibney ("Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room") connects the case of Dilawar to the treatment that's been systematically meted out to more than 80,000 prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. The torture doesn't stem from battlefield stress…
In Yakubi, Afghanistan, Asaldin and Shahpoor, the father and a brother of Delawar, a taxi driver who died in American custody at Bagram, mourned last year. "God will punish" the abusers, Shahpoor said. President Barack Obama's administration has sided with predecessor George W. Bush on the rights of detainees at Bagram air base , saying they cannot challenge their detention in US courts. AFP/ Photo:Keith Bedford for The New York Times).
Murdered by CIA interrogators at the secret U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base