On December 17, 2002, Mohammed Jawad, then about fourteen or fifteen years old, was arrested by Afghan police on suspicion of involvement in a single grenade attack on a U.S. military jeep in a crowded public bazaar in Kabul. The attack injured two U.S. service members and their local interpreter. According to news accounts and public statements by senior Afghan officials, multiple persons were arrested for and confessed to this crime. But Jawad was the only suspect handed over to U.S. authorities. Before turning him over, Afghan officials threatened to kill Jawad or a member of his family if he did not confess. The police then forced him to place his thumbprint on a confession they had written. Jawad was illiterate, and the document was in Dari, a language he did not even speak.

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