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Three U.S. Citizens Convicted Of Running Afghan Jail

15 September 2004 -- An Afghan court has convicted and sentenced three Americans for illegally running a private jail in Afghanistan and torturing captives there.

Two defendants received 10-year prison sentences and the third was given an eight-year term today.

The three Americans were arrested in July for kidnapping, jailing and torturing at least eight people during their freelance hunt for terrorists.

Robert Fogelnest, a lawyer for one of the accused Americans, had asked the court to drop the charges. He said the trial has shown that Afghanistan's legal system does not meet international standards.

U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan have admitted some contact with the group of Americans. But officials deny claims that the group operated with the approval of high-level authorities.