New Probes Of Prison Deaths

An Iraqi detainee asks a military policeman to light his cigarette while in his outdoor cell at the Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, June 22, 2004.
The Army has reopened investigations into two prisoner deaths in Iraq that had previously been attributed to natural causes, an official with the service said.

New information led investigators to question the causes of the deaths, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The Army's Criminal Investigations Division will make a final determination whether either death should be reclassified as a homicide, the official said.

The official had no specifics on either death.

Last month, Army officials said medical investigators had attributed the deaths of 15 prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan to natural causes. That figure may have changed, but officials have declined to provide updated numbers.

At least 19 more prisoner deaths in the two war zones have been investigated as homicides by the military. Eight of those were determined to be justified killings of an escaping or dangerously violent prisoner.

So far, military officials have refused to provide a comprehensive list of the incidents of alleged prisoner abuse or homicide that they are investigating. The following list of 11 additional prisoner deaths was pieced together from a number of military sources.


  • April 28, 2004: Fahin Ali Gumaa, 44, died several days after receiving multiple gunshot wounds in Baghdad. The circumstances of his shooting are unclear.
  • Jan. 9, 2004: Abdul Jaleel, 46, held at Forward Operating Base Rifles near Al Asad, Iraq, died of "blunt force injuries and asphyxia." His death is under investigation.
  • Nov. 26, 2003: Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a former commander of Saddam Hussein's air defenses, died during interrogation at Qaim, Iraq. His death may have involved a CIA officer who is an interrogator. Doctors attributed his death to "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression." His death is under investigation.

    The Denver Post, citing a Pentagon document obtained by the newspaper, reported last week that charges of negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter will be filed against Chief Warrant Officers Lewis Welshofer and Jeff Williams in the Mowhoush case.

  • Nov. 4, 2003: Manadel Al-Jamadi, who was being held at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison in which the well-known abuse of prisoners took place, died of "blunt force injuries complicated by compromised respiration," doctors said. Two CIA personnel, an officer and a contract translator, were present when he died. The agency and the Justice Department are investigating.
  • September 2003: A soldier shot and killed a prisoner in Iraq who threw rocks at him. The soldier was punished and dismissed from the Army for using excessive force.
  • June 13, 2003: Dilar Dababa, who was being held near Baghdad, died of what doctors determined was a head injury. Doctors determined his death was a homicide, but no more information has been provided.
  • June 6, 2003: Prisoner Nagem Sadoon Hatab, a Baath Party member, died of strangulation after a Marine grabbed him by the neck at a holding facility near Nasiriyah. Investigators determined his death was accidental, but several Marines were charged in connection with his treatment.


  • Nov. 6, 2003: Abdul Wahid, an Afghan, died of multiple blunt force injuries, which were complicated by a muscle condition, while in U.S. custody in Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan. Army spokesmen said Wahid suffered those injures before he was turned over to U.S. forces by Afghan militiamen. He died a few hours later. The case remains under investigation.
  • June 21, 2003: Abdul Wali, an Afghan prisoner at Asadabad, Afghanistan, died three days after turning himself in to U.S. authorities. A contractor for the CIA, 38-year-old David A. Passaro of Lillington, N.C., has been charged with two counts each of assault and assault with a dangerous weapon — a flashlight — in connection with his death.
  • Dec. 10, 2002: An Afghan listed only as Dilawar, 22, died Dec. 10, 2002, while being held at Bagram. Doctors attributed his death to "blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease." His death remains under investigation.
  • Dec. 3, 2002: Mullah Habibullah, about 28, an Afghan also held at Bagram, died of "pulmonary embolism due to blunt force injuries to the legs," according to his doctors. His death also remains under investigation.

    There have also been several deaths in custody wear soldiers were not found at fault.

    Several other deaths occurred at Abu Ghraib prison when guards were putting down riots or responding to escape attempts. According to the Army investigation of the abuse allegations, 21 prisoners were wounded and five killed in shootings by guards.

    The Army report, by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, found that investigations into some of the deaths " lacked critical data needed to evaluate the details of each incident."