Afghan prisoner abuse witness changes story, risks credibility

12 years ago Comments Off on Afghan prisoner abuse witness changes story, risks credibility

FORT BLISS, Texas (AP) – For the third time in two weeks, a government witness in the Afghanistan prisoner abuse investigation has told different accounts of an attack on an apparently mentally retarded detainee.

Jeremy Callaway, formerly an Army specialist with the Ohio-based 377th Military Police Company, testified Monday in a pretrial hearing for Spec. Nathan A. Jones that Jones was one of four soldiers who used a knee strike on Zarif Khan.

Jones is accused of assault, maltreatment and making a false official statement.

Callaway testified last week during a pretrial hearing for another soldier accused in the same case that Jones did not hit Khan, whose behavior earned him the nickname “Timmy,” after a mentally slow character on the cartoon Southpark.

When Jones’ attorney, Capt. Kathleen Allred questioned Callaway about the inconsistency, Callaway said he didn’t recall testifying during the Driver hearing.

“I’ve been through so many … I don’t remember them all,” said Callaway, who was testifying by telephone from his home in Richmond, Ind.

For more than an hour, Allred questioned Callaway’s memory, including whether military investigators had told Callaway that he was once a suspect in the abuse investigation launched after two detainees died at the Bagram Afghanistan detention center in late 2002.

During a court-martial last week of Sgt. Duane Grubb, Callaway said he was never told that he was suspected of any wrongdoing but then conceded he had been read his rights and was warned he was a suspect when he spoke to military investigators in January 2004.

Callaway backed off that testimony Monday and said he was only warned of his rights and told that he was a suspect after four to five hours of questioning by military investigators.

Monday’s hearing in the Jones case will determine if he should be prosecuted at a court-martial.