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Afghanistan Teaches Foreigners Hard Lesson

Zada gave no reason for the rulings on Joshi, Eaton and Shaw.

Heinrich, Eaton and Shaw said they had guns at the time of the raid that were purely for personal protection. Four years after U.S.-led forces ousted the hard-line Taliban from power, Afghanistan remains awash in weapons and plagued by militant violence that has killed nearly 1,500 people this year.


An Afghan police officer takes out the hand cuff of one of the four foreigners, Mike Shaw, British citizen, who were accused of gun- smuggling, at the courtroom before a trial in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2005. An Afghan court convicted two Britons and an Indian on gun smuggling charges and gave them two-year suspended sentences following a one-day trial one of the men called a
An Afghan police officer takes out the hand cuff of one of the four foreigners, Mike Shaw, British citizen, who were accused of gun- smuggling, at the courtroom before a trial in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2005. An Afghan court convicted two Britons and an Indian on gun smuggling charges and gave them two-year suspended sentences following a one-day trial one of the men called a "circus." An American was cleared. (AP PHhoto/Musadeq Sadeq) (Musadeq Sadeq - AP)

Heinrich told the court that one of his main fears before his arrest was Taliban and al-Qaida violence.

"My fear was in the wrong place," said Heinrich, who called himself a partner in a company involved in construction projects, including work with the defense contractor Blackwater's U.S. agreement to train Afghan border police.

Eaton also said he was involved in reconstruction, including a project to provide potable water. Shaw said he was a security consultant, and Joshi said he worked in logistics.

In an interview with The Associated Press in the dilapidated jail where they shared a cell, the men said before the hearing that they had been treated well there.

But Heinrich and Eaton said they turned down repeated suggestions they could buy their release with bribes, at least once fielding a request for more than $100,000.

With their country shattered by a quarter-century of war, Afghan police and lawyers earn too little to make ends meet, Heinrich said.

The lawyer who was provided by the government to Eaton, Shaw and Joshi before the hearing had trouble reading from the defense argument Wednesday, stumbling over the words and prompting the judge to ask whether he was sick.


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© 2005 The Associated Press