Afghan Government Illegally Detains, Beats American, Wants $2.4M for Him
Lawmakers urged Secretary of State John Kerry to step in and fight for an American contractor detained and beaten by Afghan authorities reportedly in connection with a contract dispute.
Reps. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) sent a letter to Kerry today requesting his help in expediting the release of David Gordon, a Virginia Beach resident and employee of project management firm Tamerlane Global Services, Inc.
Gordon, a father of two with a third on the way, was arrested Wednesday without charge in Qomandani Amanya, Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Afghan Attorney General’s office said Gordon's detention was related to an ongoing commercial contract dispute and is asking for $2.4 million to release him.
In addition to what sounds like the Afghan government demanding ransom for an illegal detention, the story gets worse.
"We were deeply concerned to learn that Mr. Gordon was beaten during the night of April 3, sustaining several injuries, and was not sent to the infirmary until April 4, 2013," the congressmen wrote. "The threats that he is receiving and the demonstrated lack of protection during his confinement give us serious concern about his welfare."
"We request that the Department of State intervene and expedite the release of this illegally detained American."
At today's State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland wouldn't say whether Kerry's department was doing anything to secure Gordon's release.
"We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was arrested in Kabul. We are providing appropriate consular assistance, but because of privacy considerations, I can’t give you any further details," she said.
Judging by the description given by Gordon's company, indications are that he was doing work to help rebuild the country.
"We specialize in serving the needs of companies, NGOs, and government entities seeking to either enter or work within emerging or frontier marketplaces. Sometimes these are countries with high growth potential yet limited infrastructure. Sometimes these are regions embroiled in conflict. Where others see these areas as pure risk, we see enormous reward."
Projects listed in the company's March 2013 report include developing shipping lanes within Afghanistan and helping U.S. forces move freight.
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