Dilawar (torture victim) bigraphy, stories - Theater

Dilawar (torture victim) : biography

December 11, 1979 - December 10, 2002

Dilawar (born c. 1979 – December 10, 2002), also known as Dilawar of Yakubi, was an Afghan taxi driver who was tortured to death by US army soldiers at the Bagram Collection Point, a US military detention center in Afghanistan.

He arrived at the prison on December 5, 2002, and was declared dead 5 days later. His death was declared a homicide and investigated and prosecuted in the Bagram torture and prisoner abuse trials. The award winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side focuses on the murder of Dilawar.

2007 inquiry in civil court

In July 2007, a Federal grand jury opened a civil inquiry into the Bagram abuse.

Alicia A. Caldwell, writing in the Huffington Post, quoted a former military defense lawyer, named Michael Waddington, who said:

Duane M. Grubb, Darin Broady, Christopher Greatorex and Christopher Beiring, four of the soldiers in who served at the center at the time of the deaths, acknowledge that they had been called before the grand jury. They were reported to have waived immunity.


In August 2005, lead interrogator Specialist Glendale C. Walls of the U.S. Army pleaded guilty at a military court to pushing Dilawar against a wall and doing nothing to prevent other soldiers from abusing him. Wells was subsequently sentenced to two months in a military prison. Two other soldiers convicted in connection with the case escaped custodial sentences. The sentences were criticized by Human Rights Watch. In March 2006, the CBS News program, "60 Minutes" investigated the deaths of two Afghan prisoners, including Dilawar, revealing that authorization for the abuse came from the "very top of the United States government". "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley interviewed retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was appointed chief of staff by Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002, during George W. Bush’s first administration. Willie V. Brand, one of the soldiers convicted of assault and maiming in the deaths of the two prisoners, and Brand’s commanding officer, Capt. Christopher Beiring, were also featured in the program. Wilkerson told “60 Minutes” that he could “smell” a cover-up and was asked by Powell to investigate how American soldiers had come to use torture and stated; "I was developing the picture as to how this all got started in the first place, and that alarmed me as much as the abuse itself because it looked like authorization for the abuse went to the very top of the United States government". Brand and Beiring confirmed that several of their leaders had witnessed and knew about the abuse and torture of the prisoners.

Beiring and Brand showed no remorse when recounting the torture. Beiring was charged with dereliction of duty, a charge that was later dropped. Brand was convicted at his court martial, but rather than the 16 years in prison he was facing from the charges brought against him, he was given a reduction in his rank.

In August 2005, Sgt. Selena M. Salcedo, an interrogator with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, admitted to mistreating Dilawar. In a military court Salcedo pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and assault, admitting she kicked the prisoner, grabbed his head and forced him against a wall several times. Two related charges were dropped and she was reduced in rank to corporal or specialist, given a letter of reprimand and docked $250 a month in pay for four months. She could have received a year in prison, loss of a year’s pay, reduction in rank to private, and a bad-conduct discharge.


Dilawar was a 22-year-old Pashtun taxi driver and farmer from the small village of Yakubi in the Khost Province of Afghanistan, who was tall, and weighed . Dilawar was transporting 3 passengers in his taxi, when he and his passengers were arrested at a checkpoint. The four men were detained and turned over to American soldiers who transferred them to the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. His passengers, like Abdul Rahim and Zakim Shah, reported to have experienced similar treatment as Dilawar but they survived Bagram and were later flown to the Guantanamo Bay detention camps.

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