US Embassy: Va. contractor released in Afghanistan

AP News
Posted: Apr 05, 2013 5:24 PM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An American contractor detained in a contract dispute in Afghanistan was released Friday and three U.S. congressmen who complained about his detention said he had been seized without charges and beaten.

U.S. Reps. Scott Rigell and Frank Wolf of Virginia and Duncan Hunter of California sent a letter asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene for David Gordon, 38, of Virginia Beach, Va.

The congressmen said Gordon was detained Wednesday in a contract dispute but had not been charged. They said Gordon was injured in a beating but was not taken to an infirmary until the next day. Afghan authorities had asked for $2.4 million to release him, according to the legislators.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, John Rhatigan, said the Afghan government released Gordon on Friday, but he declined to comment on the demands.

"We continue to provide consular assistance as his attorney works to resolve this matter," Rhatigan said, without providing additional details.

Gordon works for northern Virginia's Tamerlane Global Services Inc.

The company's senior counsel, Ryan Kelley, said he talked to Gordon on Friday and said he was relieved he was free after what Kelley called a "terrible ordeal."

Gordon was attacked the same night he was taken into custody, leaving him bruised and with cuts requiring stitches, Kelley said.

"He was directed out into a yard and blindsided by someone and struck, it sounds like a number of times," Kelley said. "He was then put back into his holding cell with a bunch of people who committed crimes."

Kelley said Gordon, a diesel mechanic with a pregnant wife and two children at home in Virginia, was caught in "that bad behavior" even though he had no connection with a project that Tamerlane project that is the focus of a federal court case in Virginia. Gordon was leading a project to install satellite tracking devices on fuel trucks for the U.S. Department of Defense to prevent theft.

Tamerlane, which is based in Reston, is involved in logistics and cargo management in developing countries, including Afghanistan.

Kelley, who declined to give Gordon's location, said he would require additional medical treatment. He did not know the full extent of his injuries. He said his treatment in Kabul was cursory.

"He was under armed guard with six police officers who insisted on bringing him back to the jail. He wasn't full evaluated," Kelley said.

Tamerlane appealed to the lawmakers because they considered Gordon's plight "a matter of life and death," Kelley said.

An Associated Press telephone call to a listing for a David Gordon in Virginia Beach was not answered.