Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

SA man’s hell in Afghan jail

Daily News  May 18, 2012

The threat of execution, al-Qaeda and Taliban members baying for his blood and a Guantanamo Bay-style lockdown. That’s what a Cape Town man endured in an Afghanistan jail for two-and-a-half years.

On arriving at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday, Philip Young spoke of the hardships he went through while held captive by authorities in Afghanistan.

Young was speaking moments after an emotional reunion with his children: David, 22, Dylan, 18, and Caitlin, 13. They hadn’t seen their father for almost three years. When she saw him Caitlin burst into tears.

 

“It feels great to be home. It was a long ordeal, but now it’s time to get on with my life,” said Young.

Before Young stepped off the plane David said: “It’s been very difficult to be without our dad for so long. I’ve missed the ordinary things – having a beer with him, going cycling, going camping. I can’t wait to do those things again.”

 

In 2010 Young was found guilty of murder in an Afghan court and sentenced to five years in prison. The sentence was increased to 16 years after the prosecutor tried to secure the death sentence through an appeal. Later it was reduced to seven years.

The investigation and trial were described by Thinus Coetzee, a human rights activist working for Amnesty International, as deeply flawed.

“The very section of the Afghan Criminal Code under which he was found guilty should have exonerated him on the grounds of self-defence. It was bizarre. None of the paperwork made any sense, so to this day we don’t really know what crime he was convicted of,” said Coetzee on Thursday.

In 2009 Young was working as a deputy project manager in Afghanistan for Anham, a US logistics supply company, which had been contracted by the US government’s Counter Narcotics Advisory team.

On October 1, 2009, while returning to the Anham compound in Helmund Province, an Afghan security guard approached Young’s vehicle, threatened him and started firing at the vehicle. Young returned fire, killing the guard, Abdul Ghafar.

Young said Ghafar had enlisted a group of armed men to forcibly take control of the compound after being dismissed as the site’s deputy security leader.

“None of the courts contested that my only motive for firing at Ghafar was the fact that he was firing at me. None of the courts contested the fact that the killing of Ghafar was not premeditated. And yet, inexplicably, I was found guilty of murder. A conviction for which I could potentially have received the death penalty. There is no justice in Afghanistan.”

Young said he felt helpless during the court proceedings.

 

Awaiting trial in a communal cell with 14 other prisoners, Young said he had to develop “eyes in the back of his head”. He was housed with Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives, and on at least one occasion had to fight for his life.

 

After his conviction he was moved to the Counter Narcotics Justice Centre, and then transferred to Pul-e-Charkhi, a maximum security facility east of Kabul where he had minimal contact with other prisoners.

“We had beds, enough food and the guards treated me with decency. Having said that, the restrictiveness of the set-up was terrible. On my birthday my colleagues bought me a cake, but I was not allowed to have a single piece.”

The remission of Young’s sentence and his early release was made possible by a decree issued by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“I qualified in general terms, like many other prisoners in Afghanistan. Karzai is impervious to international pressure on such issues, so I don’t believe that the campaign for my freedom swayed him,” said Young.

 

Coetzee said he had “the highest praise” for the SA government’s roles in engaging with Afghan authorities.

Spokesman

Clayson Monyela said the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was delighted at the news of Young’s release.

Please see thr original and read more here

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Arrested, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

South African security trainer killed in Somalia

AP at Fox News  April 28, 2012

A South African security trainer was killed by his bodyguard in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland, officials said Saturday.

Puntland’s government said in a statement Saturday that it had launched an investigation into Friday’s killing. The statement identified the man as Lodewyk Pietersen, and said he worked for Saracen International, a security firm that trains anti-piracy forces in Puntland. The statement said the South African was 55 and married with children.

South African foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said Saturday no official word has been received from consular staff handling South African interests in Somalia.

“We have not yet been alerted to such an incident,” he said.

The statement said the trainer was killed while accompanying Puntland’s maritime forces on a government-approved mission targeting pirates near Hul-Anod, a coastal area favored by pirates who use it as a base to hijack ships for ransom.

Pietersen was shot dead by his Somali bodyguard after an argument, according to a Puntland official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the matter. The official said Puntland’s security forces were hunting for the killer

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April 28, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Contractor Casualties, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South African Randall Quickfall, Pacific Architects and Engineers, dies in DRC UN Plane Crash

Randall Quickfall, from Heathfield, Cape Town, was among 32 people who died.

Quickfall was a project manager for the UN and travelled throughout Africa on peacekeeping missions.

He was 47.   He worked for a US company, Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), which was subcontracted to the UN.

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, United Nations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mechem Medic Petrus “Parra” van Vuuren dies in DRC UN Plane Crash

Petrus “Parra” van Vuuren, 40, a fireman from Polokwane, was working in the DRC as a medic for the South African demining company, Mechem. His brother, Andries, said that the family had learnt only on Tuesday that his “boeta” was heading home.

“We knew he was coming back, but he told us that he was coming at the end of the month. Every time we asked him for a date he would mumble something and then change the subject,” he said.

“He lived for his job and the challenges which came with it … It was his kind of life – being a firefighter-paramedic was in his blood.”

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Demining, United Nations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Private Security Contractor Sean Brehm charged with stabbing in Kandahar

See also

South African, Sean Brehm, DynCorp, extradited to US under the Military ­Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act

More Details here by Imperial Valley News

Washington, DC – A U.S. Army contractor was indicted today for stabbing another individual with a knife at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
The indictment, returned today by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, charges Sean T. Brehm, 44, of Western Cape, South Africa, with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm and without just cause or excuse, and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
According to the indictment, the stabbing took place on Nov. 25, 2010. The indictment alleges that at the time of the stabbing, Brehm was working as a contractor for DynCorp International LLC, a U.S. Army contractor in Afghanistan. Brehm originally was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., on Dec. 9, 2010. U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis ruled on Dec. 10, 2010, that Brehm be removed to the United States, and he arrived on Dec. 21, 2010, at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm and without just cause or excuse, and 10 years in prison for assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
The defendant is charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), a statute that gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by, among others, contractors or subcontractors of the Department of Defense.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney James S. Yoon of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Walutes Jr., for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
An indictment is merely a formal accusation. It is not proof of guilt, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty

Associated Press – January 5, 2011 6:55 PM ET

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a South African who is a U.S. Army contractor in Afghanistan has been charged with stabbing a man at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

Forty-4-year-old Sean Brehm of Western Cape, South Africa, was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Virginia. He is charged with assault in the Nov. 25 incident; further details on the stabbing were not available.

Prosecutors say Brehm was working as a contractor for DynCorp International LLC, a U.S. Army contractor in Afghanistan. Brehm was charged in a criminal complaint on Dec. 9 and was brought to the U.S. on Dec. 21.

Brehm is charged under a statute that gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by contractors or subcontractors of the Department of Defense. See the original here

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, DynCorp, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan suicide attack targets ISAF Contractors

Ten foreigners were injured and two Afghans killed when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives at the entrance to a compound housing international aid companies in Kandahar.

UPDATE:

Briton Injured in Deadly Carbomb attack in Afghanistan

A British man has been injured in a fatal car bomb explosion on a compound in Afghanistan, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Three internationals and three Afghanis were killed in the explosion in Kandahar. It is understood they had been working as contractors for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“The nationalities of all the casualties are not yet clear but one of those injured was British. We understand his injuries were not severe and that he did not require hospital treatment,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said.

Early reports suggest a car bomb detonated inside a compound housing foreign contractors, killing a number of people.

A spokesperson from ISAF said ten people were injured in the blast and are currently being treated at a nearby hospital.

The Foreign Office said it was in contact with officials in Afghanistan in an effort to establish whether any other British nationals were involved in the incident.

Local official Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, said a foreign contractor had been shipping fuel supplies in the area.

UPDATE at the Australian

KANDAHAR: British military officials are investigating reports that security contractors from Britain were among the victims of a suicide car bombing in southern Afghanistan.

By Ben Farmer in Kabul
Published: 8:18AM BST 16 Apr 2010

Original Here

Early reports had suggested Britons were killed in the attack on Thursday evening, but the provincial governor said 12 hours later on Friday morning that only Afghans had died.

Three Americans and one south African were injured and sources said a Briton had been wounded but was not in a serious condition. The wounded were being treated in the nearby Nato hospital at Kandahar airfield.

The 9pm blast struck a compound housing the offices of the international contracting company Louis Berger Group, the Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative and the aid contracting company Chemonics International.

Windows were blown out across the city and it followed hours after another attack against a Kandahar hotel which wounded eight.

Tooryalai Wesa, governor, said there had been no claim of responsibility for the bombing, which according to some reports involved a fuel tanker.

The vehicle got past a security gate, before detonating at a second in the high security compound.

Nato forces are preparing for a major operation this summer in Kandahar — the largest city in the Taliban-ridden south and the birthplace of the hardline Islamist movement.

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment