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Soldier's Discharge Clarified

His exit was partly due to a head injury suffered during training in Cuba, the Army admits.

June 09, 2004|From Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A military police officer was discharged partly because of a head injury he suffered while posing as an uncooperative detainee during a training exercise at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Army acknowledged Tuesday.

The Army previously had said Spc. Sean Baker's medical discharge in April was unrelated to the injury he received last year at the detention center, where the U.S. government holds suspected terrorists.

Maj. Laurie Arellano, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, said the Army had received more information about what medical evaluators considered in the case. "It's not the only thing that led to his medical discharge," she said.

Arellano said medical privacy laws prevented her from discussing any other factors that led to Baker's discharge unless he authorized the release of his medical records. But Baker's lawyer, Bruce Simpson, complained that the Army had not responded to his request for the records.

Baker, 37, a former member of the 438th Military Police Company, said he played the role of an uncooperative prisoner and was beaten so badly by four U.S. soldiers in another company that he suffered a traumatic brain injury and seizures.

Baker, of Georgetown in central Kentucky, said the soldiers stopped beating him only when they realized he might be American.

Simpson said his client was considering a lawsuit.

"The Army has chosen ... to cast doubts about Sean Baker's credibility when there's absolutely no dispute that the Army's own military personnel, through major acts of negligence, caused him serious injury," he said.

An investigation concluded that Baker's injury occurred in the line of duty, and the soldiers were not disciplined, Arellano said.

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