Abu Ghraib Detainees Win $5M From Contractor

Contractor settles with 71 inmates who alleged torture

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2013 12:00 AM CST | Updated Jan 9, 2013 12:27 AM CST

(Newser) – A security contractor accused of torturing detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and other US-run facilities during the Iraq War has agreed to pay $5.28 million to 71 former inmates, according to legal documents unearthed by the AP. The settlement from L-3 Services, which provided the US military with thousands of translators, marks the first time former detainees alleging torture have won a payout from a US defense contractor.

The company "permitted scores of its employees to participate in torturing and abusing prisoners over an extended period of time throughout Iraq," and "willfully failed to report L-3 employees' repeated assaults and other criminal conduct by its employees to the United States or Iraq authorities," the lawsuit stated. After images of abuse at Abu Ghraib shocked the world in 2004, a US military investigation identified 44 alleged incidents of detainee abuse, but no L-3 employee was ever charged and the company was not prevented from working for the government.

An unidentified detainee stands on a box with a bag on his head and wires attached to him in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.   (AP Photo, File)
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Private military contractors played a serious but often under-reported role in the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib. - Baher Azmy, legal director at
the Center for Constitutional Rights

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