Ex-CIA Contractor Sentenced In Beating Case

Tuesday, February 13th 2007, 3:26 pm
By: News On 6

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ A former CIA contract employee was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 8 1/2 years in prison beating an Afghan detainee who later died.

David Passaro, 40, was accused of hitting Abdul Wali with a flashlight and kicking him in the groin during a two-day interrogation at a remote military base in Afghanistan in July 2003.

Passoro was the first American civilian charged with mistreating a detainee during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was found guilty last year of assault and could have gotten 11 1/2 years in prison. He received eight years and four months behind bars.

Wali died within 48 hours of the interrogation. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle has said that a lack of an autopsy probably kept Passaro from being charged with murder.

Defense attorney Joe Gilbert argued his client should be given a lighter sentence because of his military service and because the death happened in a hostile nation during war time.

Prosecutors said Wali, an Afghan farmer, came forward after learning he had been implicated in rocket attacks on a military base in Afghanistan.

The local governor, Said Akbar, wrote to the judge last week, saying Wali's death had become a tool for terrorist recruiting and was ``a huge setback for Afghanistan's national reconciliation efforts.''