Sixth Ohio reservist stands trial in prisoner abuse case |

Sixth Ohio reservist stands trial in prisoner abuse case

FORT BLISS, Texas – An Army reservist at an Afghanistan detention center struck and taunted a detainee who may have been mentally disabled, a former soldier testified as a military trial began Thursday.Former Spc. Jeremy Callaway told jurors that Sgt. Duane M. Grubb was one of two soldiers who repeatedly struck Zarif Kahn while the detainee held on to barbed wire in a cell.Callaway also said Grubb, of the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company, was among four troops who taunted Kahn, calling him “Timmy,” in reference to a disabled character on the cartoon “South Park.” Kahn has been described as mentally retarded.Grubb, of the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company, is the sixth Ohio-based reservist to be court-martialed in an abuse investigation prompted by the deaths of two other detainees at the Bagram facility in 2002. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, maltreatment and making a false official statement.Khan was released from American custody and cannot be located, prosecutors in Driver’s case said during an unrelated hearing Tuesday. It was unclear why he was detained.Callaway testified that Grubb and Sgt. Alan Driver repeatedly hit Kahn on the legs with their knees. The soldiers are trained in the technique, known as common peroneal strikes or knee strikes, but lead prosecutor Capt. John B. Parker said the question was whether the number of strikes was excessive.Grubbs denied Callaway’s account, testifying that the witness’s vantage point from a break room would have made it impossible for him to see into the cell.Grubb testified that he “never had to escalate to that type of force,” and wasn’t comfortable using knee strikes on prisoners. At 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, he said, he was too large to do it properly on the smaller inmates.Defense lawyer Capt. Robert Fellrath challenged Callaway’s testimony before an all-male jury of four officers and four enlisted personnel. Fellrath said Callaway testified during a hearing in Driver’s case earlier in the week that one of the four soldiers wasn’t there for the incident.Callaway’s testimony also differed from a sworn statement given to military investigators in 2004, defense lawyers said.Callaway, who received a medical discharge after getting hit by a vehicle in 2002, said he couldn’t explain the differences but that his memory was better Thursday than it was in 2004. He added that he didn’t tell military investigators about the taunts in 2004 because he didn’t think they were relevant.Knee strikes, described as a form of corporal punishment, have been at issue in many of the abuse cases tried at Fort Bliss.Vail, Colorado

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