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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Trial begins in Afghan death case
David Passaro. Archive picture
Passaro is alleged to have repeatedly beat the inmate
The trial has begun in the US of a contractor who worked for the CIA in Afghanistan and has been charged over the death of a prisoner in 2003.

David Passaro is accused of repeatedly beating Abdul Wali while interrogating him at a US base in Afghanistan.

The Afghan prisoner, who surrendered voluntarily to US forces, died the day after the alleged beatings in his cell.

Mr Passaro, the first US civilian to be charged with mistreating Afghan prisoners, has denied the charge.

Mr Passaro allegedly assaulted Wali by kicking him in the groin and beating him with a metal torch during two days of interrogation at a US military base in the north of Afghanistan.

'Good example'

He faces two charges of assault, and two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon against Mr Wali.

If found guilty, he could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1m.

Abdul Wali was suspected of carrying out rocket attacks on the US base.

The Afghan authorities have described the court charges as a "good example".

The Bush administration has said such cases are rare.




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