FORT BLISS, Texas – An Army interrogator was sentenced to five months in prison Wednesday for assaulting a detainee in Afghanistan (search) who later died.
Sgt. Joshua Claus (search) was the sixth soldier to be convicted of or to plead guilty to abusing detainees following the deaths of two prisoners at the Bagram Airfield detention center (search). In all, charges were filed against 14.
Claus pleaded guilty to maltreatment and assault, and also to forcing another inmate to kiss a soldier's boots. His sentence included a bad conduct discharge from the military.
The military intelligence soldier said the abuses were the result of frustrations during interrogations. He admitted forcing water down the throat of a detainee known as Dilawar and twisting a hood over the man's head. Dilawar died at the detention center in 2002. No one has been charged with causing his death.
Claus said he also forced an unidentified detainee to roll on the ground and kiss his boots and those of another U.S. soldier. Claus told the judge he knew he was humiliating the detainee — the feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body in the Muslim faith.
"It was extremely humiliating," he said. "I was telling him he was lower than dirt."