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N.C. man charged in Afghan detainee death

June 17, 2004 at 3:33 PM

WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- A North Carolina man working as a contractor for the CIA has been indicted in the death of an Afghan detainee, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

David Passaro of Lillington, N.C., is the first civilian charged with detainee abuse. He was arrested Thursday in Fayetteville, N.C.

The indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C., says Passaro beat a detainee named Abdul Wali, who had voluntarily surrendered.

Wali had been sought in connection with a 2003 rocket attack near Asadabad near the Pakistan border where al-Qaida and the Taliban are still active.

The indictment says Passaro beat the prisoner repeatedly with his hands, feet and a flashlight. Passaro has been charged with two counts of assault and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Each charge carries up to a 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine upon conviction.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the Justice Department also is investigating one abuse criminal referral from the Defense Department and several others from CIA.

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