Abdul Wali was an Afghan man who died in US custody on June 21, 2003 at the age of 28. At the time of his death, he had been held for three days at the US base 10 miles south of Asadabad, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on suspicion of involvement in a rocket attack on the same base. The cause of his death was at first reported to be a heart attack, but this came into question when three members of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division came forward to testify that CIA contractor David Passaro assaulted Wali. David Passaro, a former Special Forces medic who worked under contract with the CIA, is the first civilian to be charged with abusing a detainee in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Passaro allegedly beat Abdul Wali for two consecutive nights, leading him to plead with prison guards to shoot him to end his suffering. Among other injuries, Wali suffered a suspected fractured pelvis that would have made it impossible for him to urinate. Passaro was also said to have kicked Abdul Wali in the groin in a football style kick that sent Wali in the air. Passaro worked at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan that was frequently subject to rocket attacks. Wali, a suspect in the attacks, turned himself in voluntarily at the gates of the base and was then interrogated. After Wali lost consciousness Passaro performed mouth-to-mouth in an unsuccessful bid to revive him. Passaro has since been charged of two counts of assault using his hands/feet and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (the flashlight) on Wali in June 2003. He was found guilty and is serving a sentence of eight years and four months.
Wali's story in part was told on National Public Radio by Hyder Akbar for the show This American Life. Hyder escorted Wali to the US forces as a sign of protection and good will, as Hyder's father was governor of Kunar Province under which the incidents happened.
- BBC report, June 18, 2004
- This American Life episode including Wali's story
- Article inspired by related abuse/torture events: Open letter to US President George W Bush
- Human Rights First; Command’s Responsibility: Detainee Deaths in U.S. Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan
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