FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
David Passaro Sentenced to 100 months imprisonment:
First American Civilian Convicted of Detainee Abuse
During the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced today that DAVID A. PASSARO, 40, of Lillington, N. C., was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment, and 3 years supervised release. On August 17, 2006, PASSARO was convicted on one felony and three related misdemeanor counts charged in the indictment by a jury in United States District Court, Raleigh, North Carolina following an seven-day trial before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. PASSARO was sentenced to 100 months on one count of felony assault resulting in serious bodily harm and six months on the three remaining counts of misdemeanor simple assault to run concurrently with each other and the sentence for Count One. U. S. Attorney Holding stated that “Passaro’s conduct was an affront to all of our men and women serving and fighting to spread freedom and the rule of law. The sentence today, clearly shows that no one is above or below the laws of the United States.”
PASSARO, a former contractor working on behalf of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was stationed at the U. S. Army base at Asadabad in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan in June, 2003. On June 18, 2003, PASSARO and military personnel took an Afghan man named Abdul Wali into custody after he had surrendered himself at the front gate of the Asadabad Base. Wali was wanted for questioning in rocket attacks on the base and was placed in a detention cell located within the base. Evidence presented in the trial also established that on June 19, 2003, and June 20, 2003, PASSARO interrogated Wali about the rocket attacks, and that during these interrogations PASSARO beat Wali using his hands and feet, a mag-lite and a large spotting light. Wali died on June 21, 2003, while still in custody at Asadabad Base.
PASSARO is the first American civilian charged and convicted of mistreating a detainee during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This case was referred to the Department of Justice by the Central Intelligence Agency and investigated by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U. S. Marshal’s Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney James A. Candelmo from the Eastern District of North Carolina and by Assistant U. S. Attorney Michael P. Sullivan from the Southern District of Florida, Counter Terrorism Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.