Alleged Torturers sue Abu Ghraib Torture Victims (Lazare)

Sarah Lazare writes at Commondreams

‘Defense’ contractor CACI International has taken the shocking step of suing four former Abu Ghraib detainees who are seeking redress in U.S. courts for the company’s role in [allegedly] torturing, humiliating and dehumanizing them, with the U.S. corporation recently requesting that the judge order the plaintiffs—- all of whom are Iraqi—-to pay CACI for legal costs.

CACI is demanding over $15,000 in compensation, mostly for witness fees, travel allowances and deposition transcripts, according to court documents.

“Given the wealth disparities between this multi-billion dollar entity and four torture victims, given what they went through, it’s surprising and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and punish these individuals for asserting their rights to sue in U.S. courts,” Baher Azny, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is working on the case, told Common Dreams.

Just weeks ago, a federal judge dismissed the former Abu Ghraib prisoners’ lawsuit against CACI International on the grounds that because Abu Ghraib is overseas, it is beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.

The plaintiffs are appealing the decision, with their lawyers arguing that a U.S. corporation operating in a U.S. military prison should be subject to U.S. law.

The ruling is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for the shadowy networks of private contractors who operate in war-torn Iraq under veils of secrecy and with near-immunity, despite widely documented war crimes.

The plaintiffs charge that CACI was part of a conspiracy to subject the defendants to “electric shocks; repeated brutal beatings; sleep deprivation; sensory deprivation; forced nudity; stress positions; sexual assault; mock executions; humiliation; hooding; isolated detention; and prolonged hanging from the limbs.”

All of the Iraqi plaintiffs were released without charges, and they continue to suffer severe physical and psychological effects from their torture.

Their lawyers say they will appeal the dismissal of a case they say is rock-solid.

“Our case is based on reports and investigations by high-level U.S. military investigators, recognizing CACI’s role in conspiracy to torture detainees,” Azny told Common Dreams. “Once we get past legal obstacles and present the case to a jury, we are hopeful justice will come to these Iraqi victims.”

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8 Responses

  1. TYPO ALERT: … that because Abu Ghraib is oversees, it is beyond…

    That should be overseas.

  2. For all you Constitutionalists out there, of whatever stripe, there’s a good old fundamental notion of what’s called “Hornbook law” that “there is no right without a remedy.” Or in Legal Latin, “Ubi jus ibi remedium. There must always be an accessible forum in which a complainant has oyer and terminer for any petition.” For those who want to tail-chase around the New Improved Supreme Court’s decimation of remedies and the attendant rights, the quote comes from an interesting article titled “Principles of Constitutional Construction.” link to constitution.org Which in our new Scalia/Roberts/Thomas age is largely a dead letter, especially that conjunction of “principle” with “jurisprudence” in co-called Constitutional Law. Since the Court and subsidiary courts have been crammed with post-Reagan fellow travelers have been busily extinguishing remedies that might impinge on “freedom of contract” or more important, and in very much a military notion, “freedom of action.” Courts in Egypt and China and a lot of other places work the same way, playing on the rubes’ perceived need for some kind of “legitimate” “rule of law” thing that they feel gives them a remedy for violations of “rights” and some recourse against arbitrary action by those more powerful than themselves.

    The case reported on here is an excellent example. And of course there are plenty of apologists who know where their personal interests and affections lie, who will happily gin up an argument why what was done here is just hunky-dory…

  3. A better name for this entity would be CACA. Whatever happens to these four victims, the USG has lost the case in the eyes of the world. And, sadly, many of my friends overseas assume that the government has acted in the name of the people, that we all support the disgraceful policies that led to Abu Ghraib and to the hiring of these vicious companies to outsource torture.

  4. The sleaze that continues to come out of the US military and its contractors is never-ending. And the US retired military that populate these contractors dare speak about honor.

  5. Sometimes, when I think things (should) have hit rock bottom, in a humanitarian way, then they deteriorate even further.

    (Alleged) Abu Ghraib tortures suing their victims is one of such cases. It appalls me beyond belief. These torturers should be brought to justice at the International Court of Justice in (my home country’s) The Hague.

    Unfortunately, in the extremely unlikely case that would happen, the US would indeed invade The Netherlands, as Bruce Sterling wryly and satirically depicted in his novel “Distraction”.

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