August 15, 2013
After a US federal judge ruled that CACI International, a US
corporation, was not culpable for torture allegations at Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq, lawyers for the defense contractor have filed a suit
against the former detainees seeking legal expenses.
A group of 256 Iraqis originally sued CACI International in 2004
accusing the company of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity,
sexual assault, participating in torture and a variety of other
allegations at Abu Ghraib prison.
Publicity around the torture, fueled by graphic pictures of soldiers
and contractors humiliating Iraqi detainees, led to calls for US Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation and is widely considered one of
the most disgraceful events of the US war in Iraq.
A federal judge dismissed the prisoners’ case in June 2013, ruling
that because the alleged abuse took place overseas the US District Court
in Alexandria, Virginia had no jurisdiction. Engility, another
contractor sued in connection with the human rights violations, settled
with former Abu Ghraib detainees for $5.28 million earlier this year.
CACI has now filed suit against prisoners who accused the company of
wrongdoing in 2004, asking the accusers to pay a $15,580 bill for legal
The plaintiffs oppose the measure, saying they “have very limited
financial means, even by non-US standards, and dramatically so when
compared to the corporate defendants in this case,” a recent court filing said. “At
the same time, plaintiffs’ serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman
and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close,
difficult – and only recently arguable – grounds.”
“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 US courts,” Bazer Azny, the legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Common Dreams.