US military destroyed my soul: Afghan reporter

Says he wants justice after he was tortured for 11 months


An Afghan journalist held for nearly a year in Afghanistan said Tuesday he would stop at nothing to get justice to compensate for the "hell" he went through at the torturing hands of the U.S. military.

Jawed Ahmad, a 22-year-old reporter who worked for Canadian TV (CTV), was detained Oct. 26, 2007, at a NATO base near the southern city of Kandahar. He was initially labeled by the U.S. military as "an unlawful enemy combatant" but was released 11 months later without charge.

Ahmad was accused of having contact with Taliban leaders, including possessing their telephone numbers and video footage of them.

"I want justice. I'll knock the doors of (U.S.) Congress, I'll go to (U.S. President George W.) Bush, I'll go to (Democratic presidential hopeful) Obama, to everywhere and everyone until I get justice," Ahmad said.

"I was tortured and jailed for 11 months and 20 days for doing nothing," he said in Kabul.

"They have destroyed my future, my soul. I'll fight until they apologize to me and give me back what I have lost," he said.

Ahmad, also known as Jo Jo, said his U.S. captors had tortured him by depriving him of sleep for nine days, beating him and putting him in a cell with "mentally sick" prisoners who had attacked him and broken two of his ribs.

Ahmad also said he was repeatedly kicked, that his head was slammed into a table and forced to stand barefoot in the snow, which led to him to pass out twice.

Asked how he would fight, Ahmad said: "I'm not a terrorist, I have never been a terrorist. I'm a journalist. With the help of other journalists and human rights (organizations), I'll fight for my rights."

His allegations could not be independently verified and the U.S. military headquarters at Bagram rejected the charge.

"We don't have any evidence of his mistreatment while in detention here," U.S. Captain Christian Patterson said.

I'm not a terrorist, I have never been a terrorist. I'm a journalist.

Jawed Ahmad, journalist