In 2004, eighteen months after his death, when his death in custody was brought to the attention of American headquarters, his death was attributed to a kidney infection. Later, an investigation determined that the account of death by natural causes was a fiction, the result of collusion among the GIs in the Special Forces unit whose custody he was in when he died. After a two-year investigation no one was held responsible for his death. However reprimands were filed in the dossiers of several GIs for the failure to report his death.
Senator Patrick Leahy's account
- According to the "Crimes of War Project" The detainee, Jamal Naseer, died in March 2003, allegedly after weeks of torture by American soldiers. Because the Special Forces unit that reportedly controlled the detention facility failed to report the death, it was never investigated. This incident is very troubling on its own, but, like so many other incidents we have discovered, it points to a much larger problem. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command received a tip about Naseer’s death earlier this year, but could not investigate the matter due to a lack of information. Christopher Coffey, an Army detective based at Bagram air base, told the L.A. Times:
- “We’re trying to figure out who was running the base. We don’t know what unit was there. There are no records. The reporting system is broke across the board. Units are transferred in and out. There are no SOPs [standard operating procedures] … and each unit acts differently.”
Neimann Foundation for Journalism account
Craig Pyes, one of the two LA Times reporters who broke the story, described the process of researching the story for the Neiman Report, the publication of the Neiman Foundation for Journalism. Pyes wrote that he and his colleague, Kevin Sack, decided to conduct a parallel investigation to the Army's official investigation. He wrote they interviewed more than 100 individuals.
- They found that Jamal Nasser in the custody of a unit known as ODA 2021, at an American firebase in Gardez.
- Nasser was captured with seven other Afghan soldiers, who described being beaten for seventeen days.
- Nasser's brother, a member of the Afghan squad, had one of his toe-nails pried off by his American interrogators.
- The Afghans had their clothes doused with glacial meltwater, and were then left outside all night in freezing cold weather.
- Patrick Leahy (October 1, 2004). "Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Abuse of Foreign Detainees". United States Senate. Archived from the original on 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- Craig Pyes (March 2, 2007). "Independent reporting drew Army coverup, secrecy, delays". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- "New Probe Of Detainee Death: U.S. Troops Eyed In Allegations Of Torture Of Afghan Soldiers". CBS News. September 21, 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-29.