Edmonton paratrooper guilty in beating death of Somali teenager

askari CanadaEDMONTON – Pte. Elvin Kyle Brown of Edmonton was convicted of manslaughter and torture in the beating death of a Somali teenager in Canadian custody in Somalia.

His conviction for torture was the first in Canadian history and capped a sensational six-week trial that tarnished Canada’s international peacekeeping reputation.

Two days later, a court martial at CFB Petawawa, Ont., imposed a five-year prison term on the 25-year-old soldier with the elite Canadian Airborne Regiment.

The five-officer panel also ordered Brown be dismissed “with disgrace” from the forces.

Brown nodded approvingly and smiled slightly after the sentence was announced. The stocky soldier said nothing to reporters as he left court, stripped of the distinctive paratrooper maroon beret.

“He’s definitely relieved,” said defence lawyer Patrick McCann. He added the sentence was fair and recognized the “minor” role Brown played in the death of Shidane-Abukar Arone on March 16, 1993, in the Canadian compound near Belet Huen during a UN famine relief mission.

Friends and former colleagues in Edmonton said they were shocked and relieved to hear of Brown’s sentence, but some were also upset he was going to jail, saying he’d been made a “scapegoat.”

The short, slight, 16-year-old Arone, who told soldiers he was looking for a lost child, was arrested by a Canadian patrol as he crawled through the barbed wire of an adjacent abandoned U.S. military compound.

Blindfolded, and bound hand and foot, he was kept in a shallow, sandbagged weapons bunker and was to have been turned over to Somali police the next day.

The court martial heard Arone was repeatedly beaten over three hours with fists, boots, a heavy wooden riot baton and a metal pipe.
Brown admitted he punched Arone in the jaw and kicked him five or six times in the thighs and ribs early on because he “despised thieves.”
Another soldier, described by witnesses as an aggressive bully and braggart inflicted the rest of the brutal attack. At least a dozen other soldiers either watched part of the beating or heard the Somali youth’s screams of pain across the Canadian compound.

None tried to stop the second soldier or reported the attack to superior officers until after Arone was dead.

Brown was expected to serve his sentence at the Canadian Forces Service Prison and Detention Barracks at CFB Edmonton, Canada’s only military prison.

czdeb@edmontonjournal.com
By Chris Zdeb, Edmonton Journal March 16, 2015

Source : Edmonton Journal

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